The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Friday, June 28, 2013

Critical Condition (1987)

  • Richard Pryor
  • Rachel Ticotin
  • Rubén Blades
Kevin Lennihan is a con artist. But this time he's framed and comes before a judge. By claiming insanity, he hopes to get off the hook. He manages to end up in a hospital on Governor's Island, off the coast of New York for a mental examination. That night, a storm breaks out over the area, and the electricity to the hospital is broken. In the ensuing chaos that follows, Kevin is taken for a doctor, Eddie Slattery. Suddenly, he is in charge of a whole hospital!

This rather mediocre comedy from 1987 was produced at the height of Richard Pryor's (somewhat unfortunate) lapse into brain dead motion picture comedies. However, like most of his films, Pryor made standard, silly concepts -- in this case, a man mistaken for a doctor forced into pretending to be on -- amusing.

Pryor plays a framed jewel thief who pleads insanity and is sent to a hospital for mental check-ups. However, once there is is mistaken for an actual doctor, and continues the charade to avoid being charged with a crime he didn't commit, etc.

It's got a lot of obvious jokes that get old in five minutes - this would be an effective "SNL" skit, NOT a full-length movie. The problem with standard concepts such as these is mainly that once you've accomplished your goal -- ha ha a man pretending to be a doctor who doesn't know anything about medical practice, that's hilarious! -- there's nowhere left to go. So they add boring and uninteresting subplots, typically romances which end with the mistaken man confessing he isn't who the woman who loves him thought he was, they break up, and then they get back together again for a happy ending in which she realizes that she really loves him for who he is, not for what he is.

That said, Pryor makes this entertaining - more so than it should be.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fakin' Da Funk (1997)

An accidental switch at an adoption agency sends a Chinese baby to an African-American family. Julian is accepted into the family and his tight-knit Atlanta neighborhood, but the search for a better life takes the family to South Central L.A. where his new neighbors think Julian is pretending to be Black. For the first time in his life, Julian faces an identity crisis.