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Laughter may be a great way to erase differences and ease tensions between diverse parties -- as long as both sides are amused. Undercover Brother attempts to take that kind of light-hearted look at inter-racial encounters between blacks and whites with a campy, over-the-top approach that spoofs the diversity of these cultures.
Anton Jackson (Eddie Griffin), a funky, afro'd superhero, works alone in his quest for justice and solidarity among his black brothers. But when an evil plan threatens to sideline a black candidate's (Billy Dee Williams) presidential campaign, The Chief (Chi McBride) at the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. recruits him to help uncover the mastermind behind the machination. Working alongside a group of secret agents with note-worthy monikers like Conspiracy Brother (David Chappelle), Smart Brother (Gary Anthony Williams) and Sistah Girl (Aunjanue Ellis), he goes undercover as an employee at Multinational Inc to expose the plot's instigators: Mr. Feather (Chris Kattan) and The Man.
However the well-heeled champion of color's mission is brought to a standstill when Penelope Snow (Denise Richards) shows up at his office. Blonde, buxom and leggy, she is not only a distraction (sent in by The Man), but also the object of repeated sexual conversations, innuendos and quips between Jackson and his cronies back at the agency. It takes some serious reining in of male hormones by Sistah Girl to get the covert operation back on track and keep the storyline moving along.
With big-hair and 70's styles easing back into fashion, it comes as no surprise that movies should take a poke at the antics of a bygone era. Unfortunately, this updated parody has added elements of questionable language (including sexual expletives and racial slurs), numerous drug references and the embellished disembowelment of some unlucky security guards.
Mired down in sexual vulgarities and crude jokes, it's hard to defend the film's meager messages of interracial co-operation and cultural pride. With little family viewing appeal, Undercover Brother might be one comedy best left under wraps.
Undercover Brother is rated PG-13:
Cast: Eddie Griffin, Denise Richards
Studio: 2002 Universal Pictures