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4-Movie Spotlight Collection: Urban Comedies [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Undercover Brother
Undercover Brother began life as an animated series on the Internet. The satirical cartoon was created by novelist and screenwriter John Ridley (Three Kings) for the website urbanentertainment.com. Ridley wrote the screenplay with Michael McCullers, co-writer of the Austin Powers sequels, and it was directed by Malcolm D. Lee (Spike Lee's cousin, and the writer/director of The Best Man). The film stars Eddie Griffin (of TV's Malcolm and Eddie) as Undercover Brother, he of the gold Cadillac convertible and huge Afro, who uses gadgets and disguises to steal from the rich and give to the poor. His activities are discovered by the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., a spy organization devoted to subverting The Man (Robert Trumbull) and his henchman, Mr. Feather (Chris Kattan), who use their power over the media to demean black people and destroy racial unity. The spy organization is run by The Chief (Chi McBride), who is constantly screaming at his subordinates. They include Sistah Girl (Aunjanue Ellis), a beautiful martial artist, Conspiracy Brother (Dave Chappelle), who sees white supremacist plots everywhere, and Smart Brother (Gary Anthony Williams, who provided the voice of Undercover Brother in the cartoon), who supplies the operatives with gadgets and information. When a popular black political figure, General Boutwell (Billy Dee Williams), calls a press conference, presumably to announce his presidential candidacy, and instead announces that he's opening a chain of fried chicken restaurants, the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. rightly suspects foul play, and recruits Undercover Brother to look into it. He goes undercover as an uptight buppie to work for The Man, but his cover is soon blown, and the seductive White She Devil (Denise Richards) is sent in to use her feminine wiles to destroy Undercover Brother. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

Trippin'
A high-school senior finds himself walking a fine line between daydreams and reality in the comedy Trippin'. Gregory Reed (Deon Richmond) is soon to graduate from high school, and he frequently drifts into a Walter Mitty-style fantasy land where he's the coolest guy in town, has money to burn, and fine ladies are throwing themselves at him around the clock; however, back in the real world, Gregory has a lousy job, no girlfriend, and no solid prospects of a date for the prom. A much bigger worry to his parents is the fact that Gregory has done almost nothing about planning for his future after graduation; he's so preoccupied by his problems with women that he hasn't even started applying to colleges. His best friend, June (Donald Faison), has got girls to spare, but while he has a future ahead of him, it isn't a good one -- he's started selling stolen goods for low-level crime boss Kenyatta (Stoney Jackson). The girl of Gregory's dreams is Cinny Hawkins (Maia Campbell), who's beautiful, smart -- and has a boyfriend. Figuring he'll settle for whatever attention he can get, Gregory asks Cinny if she can help him with his college applications, as she's been through the route and has already been accepted. Cinny agrees, and as she and Gregory become friends, she starts to wonder if her pushy boyfriend is really the guy she wants to take to the prom. Balancing typical teen-flick humor with a pointed message about personal responsibility, Trippin' was a surprise box-office success in the spring of 1999. Director David Raynr's own teenage years included a brief stint as a regular on the TV series James At 15. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

How to Be a Player
A man who's devoted his life to running around on his woman finally meets his match in this comedy. Dray Jackson (Bill Bellamy) is a ladies' man par excellence, who never lets the fact that he has a girlfriend, Lisa (Lark Voorhies), get in the way of making time with as many other women as possible. As he spends a typical day going from house to house "visiting" a number of beautiful females, Dray fills his friends David (Pierre Edwards), Kilo (Jermaine Hopkins), and Spootie (A.J. Johnson) in on the finer points of the art of having as many ladies as you want without getting caught. Dray's sister Jenny (Natalie Desselle) and her friend Katrina (Mari Morrow) are at once disgusted and morbidly fascinated with Dray's cheerful, chronic infidelity, and since Jenny is studying anthropology, they decide that Dray's lifestyle would be a worthy subject for research. Deciding to see what would happen if Dray was really put to the test (and maybe teach him a lesson in the process), Jenny and Katrina throw a party, and they invite Dray -- and all the women whose telephone numbers appear in his address book. Max Julien, best known for his role as the ultra-smooth pimp in the blaxploitation classic The Mack, appears as Dray's lady-killing Uncle Fred. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

CB4: The Movie
Comedian Chris Rock stars in this scattershot satire of rap music in the vein of This Is Spinal Tap. This film within a film begins with A. White (Chris Elliot) screening a rough cut of a documentary he has made of the notorious CB4 rap group -- consisting of group leader Albert, also know as MC Gusto (Chris Rock); Otis, also known as Stab Master Arson (Deezer D); and Euripides, also know as Dead Mike (Allen Payne). White charts the course of CB4's success, their superstar status a result of the fact that they are the only gangsta rap group who are, in fact, actual gangsters, coming direct from rap sheets to rap music. They are considered so bad that they even give rapper Ice-T pause: "I thought I was hardcore. But these guys are serious! What am I supposed to do now?" Unfortunately, at the height of their fame, their gangster pose is revealed to be a sham. Albert, Otis, and Euripides turn out to be a bunch of middle-class blacks striking a gangsta facade to look cool. But now they are in trouble. The real Gusto (Charlie Murphy), a neighborhood thug who went to prison on a drug bust, has broken out of jail and is coming for CB4. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Eddie Griffin
    Eddie Griffin - Anton Jackson/Undercover Brother
  • Chris Kattan
    Chris Kattan - Mr. Feather
  • Aunjanue Ellis
    Aunjanue Ellis - Sistah Girl
  • Dave Chappelle
    Dave Chappelle - Conspiracy Brother
  • Denise Richards
    Denise Richards - White She-Devil
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