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Review: Throwback comedy ‘Where’s the Money’ comes up short

Allen Maldonado, left, Andrew Bachelor and Kat Graham in the movie "Where's the Money."
Allen Maldonado, left, Andrew Bachelor and Kat Graham in the movie “Where’s the Money.”
(Justin Doug / Lionsgate)

Partying like it’s 1995, “Where’s the Money,” a throwback mash-up of the “Friday” series and frat boy comedies like “PCU,” is short on big laughs despite the game efforts of an energetic cast.

With his family-owned Dre’s Gym in South Central falling seriously behind in bill payments, the resourceful Del (Andrew Bachelor) is forced to take desperate measures — pledging to become the first African American member of an all-white college (USC is implied but unnamed) fraternity.

For the record:

12:55 PM, Oct. 20, 2017An earlier version of this review mistakenly identified screenwriter Ted Sperling as Todd.

The force driving his motivation? Turns out his imprisoned dad (Mike Epps) had hidden a stolen stash of $1 million in a former flophouse-turned-gentrified-frat house, and he must get to the loot before his loose-cannon Uncle Leon (Terry Crews) gets there first.

It’s readily apparent that both director Scott Zabielski and writers Ted Sperling and Benjamin Sutor are big fans of the Ice Cube urban comedies, recruiting Epps and Crews to play very slight variations on their memorable “Friday” characters Day-Day and Damon, respectively.

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While both do entertaining work, as do the affable Bachelor and Kat Graham as his potential girlfriend, the filmmakers are on less-certain comic footing when satirizing race relations.

Lacking the incisive bite of the keenly observed campus-based “Dear White People,” the movie too often finds itself on the unfunny side of that very fine line between risqué and bad taste.

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‘Where’s the Money’

Rating: R, for crude sexual content, language throughout and some drug material.

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Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood

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