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Don’t bother catching ‘Malibu’s Most Wanted’

Jackson Bell is the news assistant for the News-Press and Burbank

Leader.

After sitting through “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” actor Jamie

Kennedy’s most recent foray into frivolity, my only thought was “by

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whom?”

The painfully unfunny story is set in the most famous and

prestigious beach community in the United States, where Kennedy’s

“B-Rad” Gluckman, an over-privileged Jewish kid, is enamored by black

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hip-hop culture and has suggestively modeled himself after rapper

Eminem. Running for governor and embarrassed by his son, B-Rad’s

father, played by Ryan O’Neal, hires two black actors to pretend to

be “gangstas” and scare him into acting “more white.”

The first clue that “Malibu” flounders worse than a beached fish

on the coast of B-Rad’s hometown is that the movie is based on a

sketch from the TV show “JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.”

And as “Saturday Night Live” has so willingly proved over and

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again, 15 minutes of boob-tube funny hardly ever successfully

transforms into a feature-length film without diluting the joke into

something unrecognizable.

Second, popular culture is inundated with race-reversal humor,

thus making it the cliche du jour.

Case in point: Accompanying “Malibu’s” play on whites acting out

black stereotypes, and vice versa, on the big screen are “Bringing

Down the House” and “Head of State” -- both of which debuted as

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top-sellers in their opening weekend.

Most disappointing is the misuse of Kennedy, an otherwise

hilarious and enjoyable entertainer. The ability of the filmmakers to

make the most talented performer in the movie the least interesting

character is a backward achievement so perplexing it is almost

admirable.

Fatuous movies with an abundance of over-the-top humor --

pinnacled by “There’s Something About Mary” and “Blazing Saddles” --

fit into the unofficial genre of comedy best described as

“stupid-funny.”

Someone should tell the makers of “Malibu’s Most Wanted” that all

stupid and no funny gets them only halfway there.

“Malibu’s Most Wanted” is rated PG-13 for sexual humor, language

and violence.

* If you would like to become a Reel Critic and see a movie on

the newspaper’s tab, call entertainment editor Joyce Rudolph at

637-3241.


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