Head of State
Review by Jon Waterman
The Democratic presidential candidate was killed in a plane crash, so now the party is scrambling to find a replacement. But they want someone who will fail horribly. Thus, they pick (insert drum roll here) a low-ranking black politician.
Obviously, this must be a comedy. It’s preposterous that anyone would ever vote for a black man unless he saved the world [please note the sarcasm]. This ought to be good. Mix that wacky scenario with the comedic virtuoso that is Chris Rock [please note the semi-sarcasm] in the lead. This ought to be brilliant. Oh, how wrong I was.
Don’t get me wrong. I laughed. Occasionally. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think that having white people do “black” things and vice-versa is all that funny. Luckily, that’s not the only convention (no pun intended) this film drew upon. Not only does he repeat jokes, but he drags them out incredibly long even though we know the punchline is coming. This movie is your typical fish-out-of-water-changes-the-look-of-the-land scenario. The campaign turns into a hip-hop filled bling-fest. Chris is here to “Rock” the White Hizouse. Simply put – not funny.
Let me tell you something. Don’t buy the “Head of State” soundtrack. All you’ll get is one track by Nelly and one track by Jay-Z over and over and over again. In the film, you are forced to listen to the lack of variety, so don’t subject yourself to the same at home or in your car.
Now, when I was watching this, I was thinking that Rock was fulfilling some kind of contract obligation. Then I found out he not only co-wrote this garbage (with Ali LeRoi, “The Chris Rock Show”), but he directed it, too! Oh. My. God. How does this stuff happen? All I can say is leave it to the professionals.
What was good about the movie? Tracy Morgan and Bernie Mac. That’s about it. Talent was brought from the stage to the screen in these two performers. Sometimes I question why Rock is still popular. His stand up is good. I have not seen it translate into a successful turn in a film yet. Plain and simple: He can’t act. Evidently, he can’t write scripts or direct either. He knows talented comedians. He casts them in small roles. He makes mistakes by doing that.
“Head of State” tries to throw in some social commentary along with the “humor.” Valid points are made about some of the things that could be fixed in the country. However, any poignancy is lost with bad jokes and lack of repeating these messages. If you’re looking for a genuinely funny movie that executes everything better, then rent “Bulworth.”