Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Trippin'

By Sarah Hepola

MAY 24, 1999: 

D: David Hubbard; with Deon Richmond, Donald Adeosun Faison, Maia Campbell, Guy Torry, Aloma Wright, Harold Sylvester, Bill Henderson, Michael Warren. (R, 92 min.)

In the mind of teenager Gregory Reed (Richmond), the world is a hoochie cake and he'd best get to eating. At breakfast, during class, in the hallway, this sweet, likable high school senior is trippin', off in a montage of MTV fantasy, where he is a real G, bumpin' booties with stacked women, delivering his spoken word rap "Bitch, Don't Be Messin' Wit' My Shit" to a swooning crowd, fending off a swarm of eager college scouts. His well-meaning parents are dogging him to "get those college applications in," but Greg prefers the solace of his fantasies, and the mind-numbing company of his pimp-wannabe friends, June and Fish. Welcome to the black version of John Hughes High -- just as predictable, just as improbable, just as fantasy-filled, and probably just as funny. But then why did director Hubbard and screenwriter Gary Hardwick have to go and make it so insulting, too? Hardwick's story, like most teen comedies these days, is about as nutritious as soggy Wonder Bread, and although laced with a few genuinely funny, although crass, moments, what makes this film particularly heinous is its blind hypocrisy in embracing everything it seems to be against. Greg eventually trades in the fantasy of his rap-star dream world -- money, cash, ho's -- for the fantasy of Hardwick's Hollywood happy ending, in which he finishes off the senior prom by slammin' all night with his gorgeous walking wet dream Cinny (Campbell). We're supposed to see this as a good thing since, as Greg's Louis Gossett, Mercedes-driving teacher Mr. Shapir (Warren) has told us, Cinny is one of the most remarkable students to ever walk these halls. Yeah, right. So what have we learned? Well, kids, it seems just a smidgen of ambition can get you into the best all-black college (named here Morehoward), and the best-looking, smartest girl in school can be yours through calculated lies and a few bold moves at prom. Come on. Maybe I'm taking this all too seriously. Maybe it's just the same old clichés all in the name of entertainment. Or maybe this reviewer is just a bit tired of feeding the fantasies of kids who wanna be pimps, of seeing happy endings involving slammin' all night, and of lazy, limply written tripe trying to pass as harmless entertainment.
1.0 stars


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