The only thing white is the house
Running Time: 95 minutes
UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United States
The only thing white is the house trumpets the tagline to Head of State, Chris Rocks directorial debut. Such a statement can only suggest an impending barrage of Martin Lawrence-like racism but thankfully, for the most part, its only crime is false advertising.
If anything, this movie is lame rather than offensive. Theres very little on show to object to, but only because it lacks so much in substance that to get even remotely worked up about it would seem like an exercise in pure pointlessness.
Rock stars as Mays Gilliam, a small-time Washington D.C. alderman chosen out of the blue by the Democrats to be their next Presidential candidate. Unbeknownst to Gilliam (but knownst to us), party leader Bill Arnot (James Rebhorn) has selected him as part of a cunning plan to curry favour with the nations growing numbers of ethnic minorities, without actually winning the election. Of course, it all goes pear-shaped for Arnot when Gilliams straight-talkin style wins over a few too many people and it suddenly looks like hes about to become the first ever black President. Not exactly the strongest of plots (in fact, its a bit like an American equivalent of Ali G Indahouse), but believe it or not thats by no means the weakest element of the movie either.
Unlike Rocks unrestrained stand-up routines, the screenplay (co-written by Rock alongside Ali LeRoi) is as if he genuinely touched upon a good idea at the conceptualisation stage, only to chicken out and fall back on the usual Tupac and your mommas so fat jokes. The best parts of the film are easily the few instances where his campaign speeches are reminiscent of his own on-stage rantings, but theres a surprising lack of satire in most of the humour, and a general aura of missed opportunity.
It's Got: The perennially over-rated Bernie Mac, whos made a living out of repeating himself and doing it loudly.
It Needs: To make better and more memorable use of the situation it sets up for itself.
DVD Extras Deleted scenes, Making of featurette, a stills gallery, and a Chris Rock commentary. Basically everything youd expect, and nothing you wouldnt. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10
Alternatives:Ali G Indahouse, Bulworth, The Distinguished Gentleman
A squandered chance to use biting comedy to get right under the skin of the American political system. Its not completely unfunny, but it is a complete cop-out.