(In theaters, May 2002) It had been a long time since the last successful film genre parody, but here’s a perfectly satisfying take-off on blacksploitation movies. Undercover Brother may be a laugh-a-minute silly comedy, but it’s also a gentle satire of race relations that does more through laughter than others films will though pure anger. Eddie Griffin is da man (though not “The Man”), Denise Richards turns in one of her best (or rather, most appropriate) performances, Aunjanue Ellis is a revelation and Chris Kattan isn’t nearly as annoying as usual. Stay for the credits, as they contain what may be the film’s biggest laugh. Undercover Brother is thankfully devoid of gross-out gags and will probably stand the test of time adequately well. It’s solidly in the same vein than the first Austin Powers. Super soundtrack. Clean laughs. Pure fun!
(Second viewing, In theaters, July 2002) Holds up admirably well a second time around, though the pacing is not as sustained than during the first viewing. Eddie Griffin’s performance is excellent and the rest of the actors do quite well too. After Austin Powers‘s continued descent in self-referential tripe, it’s great to find a new approach to parody, especially given the racial social message hidden at the core of the film. Good stuff. Funny stuff.