Cast & Crew
David M. Wallace
Produced and directed by Dave Gebroe; Screenwritten
by Rick Kronberg
Comedy (US); Not Rated; contains mild language
and adult situations; Running Time -95 Minutes
by DAVID KEYES
is said that fame is like a drug, addictive from the very
beginning and coveted by those under its influence, but those
who say so tend to overlook one very significant factor behind
the statement: like some substances, it can also bring you
down just as fast as it lifted you up. The situation is no
more apparent than in the music business, a venue in which
any aspiring person can release a catchy tune, acquire a massive
following, get showered in awards and praise, and then quickly
fade out after a deafening commercial collapse.
are not unfeasible, though, and that's what the focus is
behind "The Homeboy," a charming new indie film from Hooligan
Pictures. The star is a white rapper whose popularity peaked
two years before with the triple-platinum album, "Theory
of Sell-a-tivity," but has dwindled without any further
releases. He is at a crucial state of his career. His next
move ultimately decides his fate. Will he reclaim his lost
fame, or fade off into the background like so many before
investigation takes us through the life of MC² (Dave McCrea),
a man who fits no specific classification of hip-hop entertainers
(except for his own). Though it would be easy to assume
he is an archetype for the stereotypical "white rapper"
visage—the one in which Eminem and Vanilla Ice can easily
be classified under—there's more to him than just public
image and bad attitude. He's funny and endearing. He cares
about his work. He does what he wants to. He's also the
only person I've seen who uses caviar as a dip for Fritos.
Something more charming exists underneath his facade of
a bad boy, and for 95 minutes, we watch avidly as the story
peals off his layers, ultimately revealing something underneath
just as human as any ordinary person without fame.
course he doesn't see it that way. He's just there to be
an entertainer; a "voice," so to speak, for the people.
Anxious to be at the top of the game once again in his field,
the rapper participates in an interview with TV guru Tallulah
Jones (MTV alumnus "Downtown" Julie Brown) to promote the
upcoming release of his newest album, a record that, he
claims, deals with important issues ("even the ozone layer,"
he jokes). But the interview becomes rather chilli once
Ms. Jones begins to question his "good messages" by pointing
out certain violent and derogatory remarks within his lyrics.
MC² tries hard to work his way around her points, but it's
like fighting a losing battle. Yet the scenes between Julie
Brown and Dace McCrea are fantastic together, she as a sharp
weapon for journalism and he a soft stick of butter ready
for cutting into. In terms of forcing us to take immediate
notice, there probably could have been no better way to
introduce the movie.
the story really doesn't begin to unfold until afterwards.
MC² has a problem with his sink (a Wentworth), and calls
upon a repairman to fix it. The guy who turns out to tinker
around with it, though, is no ordinary repairman—he's actually
the rapper's once-popular hip-hop idol Hoolie Hooligan (David
M. Wallace), who disappeared from the public eye years ago
and now makes a living by fixing Wentworths. MC² sees this
coincidental meeting as an opportunity to reestablish his
own career as well as that of his influence. Hoolie is reluctant
at first, but after whimpering like a baby for a few minutes,
he then agrees. Not until after MC² takes him in, though,
does he realize the enormous mistake he has made. Without
revealing too much, let's just say that it's easy to see
why Hooligan was removed from the spotlight in the first
Homeboy" is filled with many subtle but effective quirks
and oddities, and many of them help the picture rise above
the clichés of the general situations. For example, there
is a love story gimmick utilized in the story when MC² is
approached by an attractive female waitress at the local
Chinese restaurant. He is so impressed with her appearance
that he orders whatever she recommends, and during a private
conversation just minutes later, he professes his love,
asks to marry her, and floats on air when she accepts it,
apparently sharing in the feelings he has. The entire twist
works not because that they got together so quickly, but
the fact that they actually believe they are madly in love.
We, needless to say, know the naivety behind their immediate
actions, and a marvelous confrontation between the lovebirds
and the waitress's shocked parents firmly establishes so.
majority of the picture is all about this comic timing,
and though a few jokes don't quite work (most notably one
in which we are forced to hear the agonizing bowels of the
weak-stomached main character after he is loaded up on spicy
foods), the humor for the most part is delivered very effectively.
Many of the script's best shots are with the Hoolie Hooligan
character, who occupies the story as if he were the Johnny
Rotten of the hip-hop generation, cynical and quirky, with
a rebellious attitude intended to bring out fear, but instead
only generates amusement.
Homeboy" is flat-out amusing, sometimes endearing and often
fabulous, with a solid cast, noteworthy characters, delicious
dialogue and a wide supply of effective sight gags. But
by the end, one detail feels unresolved: what exactly is
this movie about? Is it a story about regaining that lost
notoriety? Learning from your influences? Helping out someone
who needs it more than you? Or finding that you've searched
for something you don't really want that much? Though the
movie tries hard to establish each of these traits, the
focus is incredibly blurred. The movie survives without
one strictly based on its other merits, yes, but a more
stable narrative center would have been a nice compliment
to the package regardless.
2001, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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