Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Meet the Blacks (2016)

Number Rolled: 40
Movie Name/Year: Meet the Blacks (2016)
Tagline: Just when you thought it was safe to move to Beverly Hills…
Genre: Comedy
Length: 93 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Hidden Empire Film Group
Producer: Darrick Angelone, Roxanne Avent, Derek Dudley, Mike Epps, Michael Finley, Venu Kondle, Heather Kritzer, Shannon McIntosh, Tony Parker, RZA, Robert F. Smith, Snoop Dogg, Deon Taylor
Director: Deon Taylor
Writer: Nicole DeMasi, Deon Taylor
Actors: Mike Epps, Gary Owen, Zulay Henao, Bresha Webb, Lil Duval, Charlie Murphy, Phil Austin, Andrew Bachelor, Lavell Crawford, DeRay Davis, Kate Enggren, Alex Henderson, George Lopez, Mike Tyson, Perez Hilton, Kathrien Ahn, Tameka ‘Tiny’ Cottle, Michael Blackson, Snoop Dogg
Stunt Doubles: Michael Caradonna, Samuel J. Paul, Cj Stuart

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Blurb from Netflix: A black dad from Chicago with a recent influx of cash moves his family to Beverly Hills just before the city’s annual purge, when all crime is legal.

Selina’s Point of View:
As parodies go, this one wasn’t the worst of them.

Meet the Blacks had moments that were too cringe-worthy or racially driven for my particular taste, but there were parts that were hilarious enough to make up for it.

The entire way the film was set up allowed it to make fun of Hollywood as a whole instead of just The Purge (2013).

For instance, Snoop Dogg (Pitch Perfect 2, Scary Movie 5, The Big Bang) plays a white man in the beginning, for the introduction. That puts a whole new spin on the term ‘white-washing’. As another example, Meet the Blacks was also set up to be a parody sequel to the original. I can’t say more on that without spoiling, but I can say that the insinuated spin on remake/reboot/sequel culture in Hollywood made the film more enjoyable for me.

The acting and the story were pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a parody. Nothing was out of this world amazing, but it was fine for the genre.

When it comes to the parody genre, you have to expect different things than you do from a serious film. Breaking the fourth wall, overacting, plot holes, twists that don’t entirely make sense; all of that can actually elevate a parody where it would destroy a serious film.

I enjoyed the movie. It’s not something I would choose to watch again, but that’s not because it was bad. It’s just a matter of personal taste.

As a note, this is one of those films that critics hated and audiences loved. In fact, the difference between the two Rotten Tomato percentages is staggering. I’ve mentioned why this happens – especially to parodies – in the past. Critics want technicality. They want everything to make sense and follow a set of established movie rules that film professors everywhere would be proud of. Parodies can’t do that. By definition, they’re making fun of the serious films and follow a whole different set of guidelines.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it every single time we watch a spoof movie for this blog. Critics have absolutely no business critiquing parody films. If you try to judge a fish on how well it climbs trees, it’s going to fail. By the same logic, if you judge a parody by serious film standards, it will too.

Why is this such a difficult concept for critics to grasp? It feels simple to me.

Cat’s Point of View:
This movie was absolutely ridiculous. Ludicrous might actually be a better word, but I’m still on the fence. I haven’t laughed and felt this guilty for laughing (while face-palming at the same time) in a long time.

Meet the Blacks is to The Purge (2013) what the Scary Movie (2000) movies have been to the Scream (1996) franchise. It’s a rollicking spoof film that pokes fun at the movie that was its inspiration. I lost count of the number of racial stereotypes they tried to cram into this film – but then, I wasn’t exactly keeping score.

Mike Tyson (Entourage, Ip Man 3, Back in the Day) and George Lopez (Balls of Fury, April Apocalypse, Rio 2) have surprising roles in the film, which I won’t spoil for you. I can say that Tyson’s character was just outrageous. I think I laughed at the aesthetics of his part more than the actual scene with his character.

One has to wonder if Mike Epps (The Lottery Ticket, Fifty Shades of Black, Term Life) actively seeks out roles like this or if he just happens to be somewhat type-cast into characters such as Carl  Black or prior roles such as Day-Day in the Next Friday (2000) franchise.

This was a far cry from Zulay Henao’s (Boy Wonder, White Space, Destined) role in True Memoirs of an International Assassin (2016), which we reviewed back in early December of 2016. She brought just the right amount of over-the-top that this movie called for along with enough of a connection to her character that she was mostly believable as the step-mom in this outlandish situation.

All told, I don’t think that the movie was horrible. It ran closer to the ‘so bad it’s good’ category without actually being GOOD. Decent would be a better word.

This is not a film for anyone easily offended, either. There is a cringe worthy amount of ‘the N word’ in this movie. So much. Definitely consider this a hard R rating. There isn’t really nudity involved but there are definitely adult themes to go with the language.

I ended the movie groaning much like someone had told me a corny joke I couldn’t help but laugh at even though it was awful. I can’t say that I’d watch this again, but it was at least moderately entertaining and, if in some small way, calls attention to the social situations that the employed stereotypes poke at.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 13%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 74%

Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Cat’s Rating2.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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