Marci X

Yet another example of what happens when stereotypes collide, Marci X offers a portrayal of the rap world that could only have come from a sixtysomething director best known for playing Philip Roth surrogates (Richard Benjamin), a Friends cast member (Lisa Kudrow), a fortysomething Wayans (Damon), and a screenwriter (Paul Rudnick) whose knowledge of rap seems derived entirely from a brief encounter with a C+C Music Factory video. Loosely inspired by Death Row Records and Ice T's infamous bouts with moral watchdogs and the religious right, Marci X casts Kudrow as a ditzy Jewish American Princess forced to take charge of a controversial gangsta-rap label after her father (Benjamin) becomes ill. Wayans plays the label's biggest star, an incorrigible gangsta who, for reasons known only to the filmmakers, talks and dresses like a flamboyant queen. He seems to be going for Snoop Dogg's effortless silkiness and pimp-couture fashion sense, but he ends up closer to the effeminate cattiness of his own In Living Color gay film critic. Wayans, who's old enough to play the father of the average rap star, is woefully miscast as a charismatic thug, but it seems unfair to single him out when there's so much blame to go around. Rudnick can be an extraordinarily clever writer, but he doesn't seem to understand that a screenplay has to entail more than a series of skit ideas strung together. That Kudrow "raps" not once but twice indicates the dearth of imagination here, as does the fact that Rudnick baldly (and badly) cannibalizes his own In & Out script for a sequence in which the film's C. DeLores Tucker/William Bennett surrogate (Christine Baranski) reluctantly busts loose to one of Wayans' concoctions. The makers of Bringing Down The House should thank the gods of cinema for Marci X, which has relieved the Steve Martin/Queen Latifah hit of its status as the year's most misguided culture-clash comedy.

Filed Under: Film

More Movie Review