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Article

Bamboozled

Posted on

Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith, ...
Devid Lee

Bamboozled

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
runtime:
135 minutes
Limited Release Date:
10/06/00
Wide Release Date:
10/20/00
performer:
Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith, Damon Wayans, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Sarah Jones (Writer), Paul Mooney, Mos Def, Michael Rapaport, Gillian Iliana Waters
director:
Spike Lee
Producers:
40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks
distributor:
New Line Cinema
author:
Spike Lee
genre:
Drama, Comedy

We gave it a C+

Just as the major television networks are being taken to task for the lack of quality African American programming, Lee reaches back to pop culture’s shameful past to illustrate how far we haven’t come. ”When I watch television today,” he says, ”there are some shows that could be considered minstrel shows except that the actors aren’t performing in blackface.” ”Bamboozled” brings in the blackface. Damon Wayans stars as the lone black writer for a fledgling network hungry for a hit. In a fit of desperation he delivers a script for a modern day minstrel show, which the corporate suits eat up. Soon, ”Mantan the New Millennium Minstrel Show” is a ratings smash.

”In the movie, blackface becomes the rage across America,” Lee deadpans, ”like the hula hoop, like Pet Rocks, like Pokémon.” To give life to Mantan, Lee brought in ”Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk” dance sensation Glover, who also earned a choreography credit on the film; ”In Living Color” alum Davidson plays his tap happy sidekick, Sleep ‘n Eat. GOOD SIGN If there’s anyone who can turn incendiary race issues into entertainment, it’s Lee. THEN AGAIN Remember what happened when Ted Danson tried to wring pointed laughs from blackface?