Release Date: October 06, 2000
Starring: Damon Wayans, Savion Glover,
Jada Pinkett-Smith, Tommy
Davidson, & Michael Rapaport
Genre: Black Comedy
Runtime: 135 minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Director: Spike Lee
Producer: Jon Kilik & Spike Lee
Writer: Spike Lee
Address Comments To:Robert Shaye, CEO
New Line Cinema
116 North Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Pierre Delacroix (Wayans), the only black writer for a television network, constantly fails with his concepts for new shows. This leads his boss, Mr. Dunwitty (Michael Rapaport) to issue him an ultimatum: Either come up with a successful urban hit or be fired. This sends Pierre back to the drawing board. After weighing his options, he decides to go with a “no holds barred” approach by creating a minstrel show. The idea of black characters in blackface doing a comedy routine revolving around the days of slavery does not sit well with Pierre’s assistant, Sloan (played by Jada Pinkett Smith), who tries to dissuade Pierre from the idea. Pierre hires two young men to play Mantan (Savion Glover) and Sleep n’ Eat (Tommy Davidson). Mantan’s character is a homeless, talented tap dancer, while Sleep n’ Eat is his sidekick. Thinking that the idea is so ridiculous he will be fired, he delivers his presentation before Mr. Dunwitty.
Mr. Dunwitty, however, ends up loving it and even takes the sitcom a step further by making the setting a watermelon patch. Pierre is pleased despite Sloan’s nodding disapproval, so he starts focusing on the creation of the show. He is given a writing team of all whites, and a main advisor of the show is a white European, much to his disappointment.
When the show is performed before a live test audience, the reactions are first of shock, followed by mere applause. When the show debuts on TV, reaction is both for and against the program, though slowly it begins to rise in popularity until it is “the” show to see – a genuine critical hit. With the taste of success in his mouth, Pierre ignores the warning signs of the social and personal degradations he is committing, until it is too late.
In this controversial movie, filmmaker Spike Lee resurfaces with a satirical minstrel show to depict his views on the television networks’ racial stereotypes of blacks, especially in some sitcoms. Shot entirely with a digital video camera, the film has a documentary-type feel to it, and a graininess comparable to watching the movie through a thin veil. Wayan’s performance entails a bit more acting than most of his more recent roles, and Pinkett-Smith delivers a decent performance, but it is Davidson whose talent and abilites are made evident throughout the movie.
Though there are some politically correct elements throughout BAMBOOZLED, Lee makes a point concerning the types of roles blacks are given today. There is even a spoof of the hip hop scene with a commercial and a jab at the networks with Pierre’s all-white writing staff. Davidson says in an interview on the movie’s website that his feelings are hurt when he sees a TV show like FRIENDS and is not offered roles with the same type of “sophisticated” interaction. In another interview, Pinkett-Smith reveals how the movie has made her look more carefully at the roles she takes.
Ultimately, this movie is one that intends to make people think, though audiences will leave either offended or encouraged. Either way, BAMBOOZLED contains plenty of foul language and some violence in order to make its point. Furthermore, although the movie makes some good points about negative stereotypes of Spike Lee’s favorite ethnic group – his own, the movie does not really try to come up with a strong moral solution to the issue of ethnic conflicts or the alleged problem of the lack of minority groups in power positions in the mass media. Thus, the movie is mostly just a satirical warning to all people about the tragic consequences of negative ethnic stereotypes.
Lee’s viewpoint here, however, seems to favor Marxist ideology. Marxism turns the idea of ethnic solidarity into a tool that lumps individuals into ridiculously elaborate, and inherently phony, social groups so that left-wing leaders can use huge governmental bureaucracies (including educational institutions) to control the private thoughts and actions of all citizens. The ultimate goal of all this, of course, is to destroy the foundations of our republic, foundations which set up a small government with strictly limited powers, based on a traditional understanding of the Word of God. BAMBOOZLED hides this Marxist political correctness under a mood of valid social outrage, but viewers should still ask themselves what’s the ultimate goal of this social outrage. Is the ultimate goal merely social justice? Or is the goal political power in the hands of a totalitarian state?
MOVIEGUIDE® encourages all filmmakers to make an effort to stop lumping individuals into racial, ethnic, economic, and “gender” categories and to focus on the Truth of Jesus Christ’s Gospel and the Truth of God’s Word. That Truth transcends race, ethnicity, economy, sex, and culture. Filmmakers should rejoice in that Truth rather than delight in the evil of racism and thought control, whether they come from the KKK or from politically correct filmmakers like Spike Lee.
Ultimately, this movie intends to make people think, though audiences will leave either offended or encouraged. Either way, BAMBOOZLED contains plenty of foul language and some violence. Although the movie makes some good points about negative stereotypes, it does not really try to come up with a strong moral solution to the issue of ethnic conflicts or the alleged problem of the lack of minority groups in power positions in the media. Also, BAMBOOZLED includes some politically correct elements which hint at a Marxist ideology. BAMBOOZLED hides this Marxist political correctness under a mood of valid social outrage, but viewers should ask themselves, Is the ultimate goal here merely social justice? Or is the goal political power in the hands of a totalitarian state