WHO’S THE MAN? (1993)

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Directed By: Ted Demme
Written By: Seth Greenland
Story By: Doctor Dre, Ed Lover & Seth Greenland
Cinematography By: Adam Kimmel
Editor: John Gilroy & Jeffrey Wolf 

Cast: Ed Lover, Doctor Dre, Nick Moody, Ice-T, Badja Djola, Denis Leary, Bill Bellamy, Colin Quinn, Bernie Mac, Kurt Loder, Vincent Pastore, Fab 5 Freddy, Richard Bright, Krs-One, Karen Duffy, Terrence Howard

Ed Lover and Doctor Dre are two inept barbers. Deciding that maybe they ought to find another line of work, they join the police. A big mistake, as far as their duty sergeant, Sgt Cooper is concerned, who proceeds to harass them at every turn. Despite this, they discover a major crime, and proceed to solve them in their own unusual fashion.

You can’t really take this film seriously at moments it tries to have some thriller elements and a mystery lies at the heart of the film. Though all in all it is mostly a comedy. It’s short, Simple and sweet.

This move stars Ed Lover and Doctor Dre, hosts of Yo MTV Raps. Doctor Dre is sometimes confused with Dr. Dre, the prolific producer of NWA fame. The movie begins with the Dr. Dre song “A N**** Witta Gun” as an homage to this confusion; the song’s chorus includes the line “Who’s the man with the master plan?”, which is fitting given the movie’s title, “Who’s the man?”

This is a pure MTV film. One of the first hip hop films of the time. As the film seems like a comedic procedural that leaves room for plenty I cameos by rappers and up and coming comedians. While this is entertaining it is also distracting and intended that way so the audience won’t notice there isn’t much of a film to watch, more just set ups for what amount to skits more than anything. The two leads try to have a Abbot & Costello type comedy team though updated. They are funny but not quite as classic.

I will always have a soft spot for the film as I can look back upon it nostalgically since the film came out when I was in junior high. Seeing It in theaters I found I hilarious. Even today it’s funny in it’s own right. Completely light weight and forgettable. Though I won’t lie it feels more hip then anything and I was really hoping for a sequel or for a film in the same vein with the two stars Ed Lover and Dr, Dre of MTV’s hot show at the time YO MTV RAPS! It is a film that is always nice to look back upon.

Though the film is fun with the leads I wonder if it might have done better quality wise if it had starred comedians instead of radio as television personalities hosts at the time they do an amicable job, I just wonder the heights it could have gone, if let’s say it starred Martin Lawrence and Damon Wayans and at the time. Or some up and coming popular comedians of the time. It might not have been the mild box office hit that it was, though it might have been more greatly remembered, than it is now.

At the time it was like a IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD, WORLD to spot the hip hop cameos spread throughout the film and was entertainment enough at the time. Now it’s still fun, but even better is to spot many comedians before they became stars or at least more recognizable. This is also Terrence Howard’s acting debut

It was director Ted Demme’s first film and his first time working on a film with Denis Leary who would become a star and usually star in the few films Demme directed before his death. Here Leary is a supporting actor playing the angry police sargent. It was a great start for both as they would start off with comedies then slowly were making their way to drama’s when he died. It is also in his scenes where the film goes crazy and really kicks into high gear.

One likes to think of this movie as a kind of Bing Crosby/Bob Hope type comedy. As the two leads already have an Abbott & Costello kind of comedy team going for them.

Played by radio hosts and DJ’s Ed Lover and Doctor Dre then hosts of MTV’s YO MTV RAP. Where this film is more built around then and their personalities. They are both comedic but Ed Lover gets the more serious weight as he is more the leader while Doctor Dre is more pure comedy.

Most of the movie is filled with hip hop stars, comedians and MTV personalities and VJ’s. So this is basically an extension of the show and channel only with a plot as even the director of the film is the producer and director of the mtv show the late great Ted Demme. As the comedians seem cast here just in case the leads were bad or not engaging enough. At least they would have plenty of talent around them. As wells as plenty of cameos for the audience to marvel at.

As the films story start to take hold the movie becomes a comedic murder mystery plot where the leads are personally involved in trying to solve for justice and a bit of revenge.

They are out of their element as cops. They stand out and only become more successful when they follow their own street rules. They also stand out as they are some of the few minority cops on the force.

Denis Leary steals scenes as their exasperated captain. Who always seems to be outspoken and angry when it comes to them.

The film is constantly fun and more made for It’s Time and really shows hip hop culture at the time. The film is more made for teens and young adults as well as fans. As it was perfectly targeted and marketed to it’s waiting audience who they sought and also managed to get some outsiders and new fans.

Wish that they had more movies to make. As this was a hit but there was no sequel or further films starring the two.

As this is a purely pop culture film wish fulfillment. That is only offensive when it comes to language rather then any violence or sex.

Gave a piece but couldn’t exactly encapsulate their comedic energy it maybe it worked best in smaller doses.

This wasn’t the best uses of their talent but definitely a urban nad hood classic. Not too much depth but a whole lot of comedy and action.

By now of course the film is dated, but as long as you focus on the film for it’s humor above all else and maybe cultural history maybe if you are around my age it will bring back memories also.

Grade: C +

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