Owen Gleiberman
July 02, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Juwanna Mann

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
91 minutes
Wide Release Date
06/21/02
performer
Vivica A. Fox, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Tommy Davidson, Ginuwine, Lil' Kim, Kevin Pollak
director
Jesse Vaughan
distributor
Warner Bros.
author
Bradley Allenstein
genre
Comedy, Sports

We gave it a D

You know you’re in for it when a movie tries to wring chuckles out of calling a hip-hop musician Puff Smokey Smoke. From ”Some Like It Hot” to ”Sorority Boys,” cross-dressing comedies have played off the essential spark of male and female difference, but Juwanna Mann, a Tootsie-role sports farce that’s a drag in every which way, is too crude to even ignite the spark. When Jamal (Miguel A. Nuñez Jr.), a basketball upstart tossed off his team for bad behavior, puts on a wig and falsies and reinvents himself as Juwanna Mann, star newcomer to the all-female ”WUBA,” his butch-boss personality is every bit as aggressive as it was before. In this case, though, the laugh is on the movie. As anyone who has peered in on the actual WNBA for five minutes knows, professional women basketball players are as tough as men. That the film treats this as a joke isn’t funny — it’s the height of lame condescension.

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