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Head of State
2003 - PG-13 - 95 Mins.
Director: Chris Rock
Producer: Ali Leroi, Michael Rotenberg, Chris Rock
Written By: Chris Rock and Ali Leroi
Starring: Chris Rock, Bernie Mac, Dylan Baker, Robin Givens, Tracy Morgan
Review by: Joe Rickey
   
An offbeat political alderman is chosen as the new candidate for the US Presidency after the death of the former candidate causes turmoil in the political world. No one expects him to win but his in your face style gains affection from the general public and it looks like there is an increasing possibility that he will indeed become the next US President. Chris Rock and Bernie Mac star in this comedy that Rock also directed and co wrote. It is believed by many that Chris Rock is a very funny comedian. His standup comedy skits and his HBO television show are often very humorous in many different ways. He appears to be equally skillful in riffing on current events and the kind of slapstick that wouldn’t be out of place on Saturday Night Live. Also, by all accounts, Bernie Mac is also a very funny man. His television show showcases his gruff yet affecting personality in all its glory and makes for a pleasing viewing experience most of the time. Too bad their big screen collaboration Head of State is a clichéd and altogether dumb attempt at a political satire. First off, Head of State suffers from a script which focuses too much on the inane, and generic physical humor generated by such things as Bernie Mac slapping people right and left and old people dancing like they are back in the days of disco or something. I just was expecting a little more in the script department than going for laughs through the use of such tired comedic acts as the aforementioned two examples. Second, direction by Rock in his debut behind the camera is very bland and comes across as very much like a television sitcom more than a major motion picture. The film uses almost all wide-angle shots without much in the way of close-ups, much like the style you will find on a network sitcom every single day on television. I wasn’t expecting the style of a Brian DePalma or David Fincher film but this just doesn’t cut it. Rock hammers home the obvious with a directing style that seems to go on autopilot for most of the film. The acting is fine for such a film as the actors do as much as they can to overcome a generic and weak script. Rock is at his best when the film becomes almost like one of his stand-up comedy routines during the debate speeches and rallies. Mac is actually better as Rock’s eccentric brother and running mate. He oozes personality and carries off the stolid script with all he can muster. Despite a solid performance by Mac, Head of State suffers from an incredibly inept script and pedestrian direction by Rock in his directorial debut.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

 
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