Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 15, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT


Current Status
In Season
Danny Hoch, Dash Mihok

We gave it a C

The sight of performance artist Danny Hoch rapping as cornfed gangsta wannabe Flip Dogg while amber waves of Midwestern grain sway in the background, lit like acres of Ralph Lauren Americana, is the whole point of Whiteboys; everything else is overkill. But overkill in the service of hip-hop culture has never been of concern to Marc Levin, the Whiteman who made Slam, and who directed this strident, showy drama, based on a character created by Hoch and cowriter Garth Belcon.

The charismatic Hoch, whose face can lapse deceptively into the slack expression of a fried couch potato, is on to something smart with Flip, son of an out-of-work machinist, who hates his mall-centered Iowa roots, feels as black as Snoop Dogg (who makes an appearance) on the inside, and dreams of moving to a Chicago ghetto to keep it real. But the other homeys and their outlandish adventures — i.e., all the hopped-up material not from Hoch’s solo show (in which Flip conducts an imaginary chat with Jay Leno) — are dopey, not dope. That goes for the white upper-middle-class dabbler (Mark Webber), the white po’boy (Dash Mihok) with a racist heart, and the African-American striver (Eugene Byrd), who was smart enough for college but is stupid enough to hang with these ridiculed fools.

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