Black and White

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1 1/2

Content: -4

In New York City, when black neighborhood crime lord Rich Bowers (Oli Power Grant) decides to put crime behind him, he re-invents himself as a hip-hop music producer/promoter. Trying to latch on to the possible stardom and influence of music stars, white teens associate themselves with Rich and his rap-composing friends. These upper-class white teenagers call themselves "niggas" and adopt the mannerisms, dress code and speech patterns of black hip-hop rappers, complete with false gold teeth. Rebelling against their parents and trying to create their own identity, the teens experiment with drugs, hip-hop music and all types of sexual behavior in this depravity billed as comedic. Sam (Brooke Shields), a student filmmaker, interviews and follows them around for a documentary about the current phenomenon of white teens copying black lifestyles. Meanwhile, trying to trap Bowers, an undercover detective (Ben Stiller) offers a college basketball player whos a friend of Bowers, $50,000 to throw a game. The stories come together in a crime of violence that affects them all. The eclectic cast of BLACK AND WHITE includes rap and sports stars, Marla Maples, Mike Tyson and super model Claudia Schiffer, but the sometimes improvised script and story fails to capture audience attention or empathy.

References to race by color describe the cross-cultural theme of the film and are not meant to be racially derogatory. The first scene shows two white, teenage girls in an explicit sexual encounter with Bowers in the middle of Central Park. Some younger boys stumble upon the scene and watch but are scared away by a companion of Bowers. Another early scene implies sex between two black women in bed with a white man, all three with full rear nudity. Sam's husband (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a bisexual who makes advances towards other men, while she insists they have a perfect marriage. Occasional philosophical gems enter the dialogue such as black and white people being equally different; they cant be lumped into one category. But filth also floods the dialogue with over 300 obscenities. The disjointed stories are tied together by a theme of trying to change who you are. Change can be for better or worse as one black student comments that shes using education to move up out of the ghetto just as the rappers use music. But she says white teens are trying to move down into the ghetto. However, one white girl sees her adoption of black mannerisms as a rebellion against her parents and societys expectations of race. The detective refers to his criminal past, comparing his life to Saul of Tarsus who was changed to Saint Paul. But they all miss the point that only Christ can truly change lives. While trying for realism, BLACK AND WHITE merely shows the ugly side of life in an offensive, overly graphic style.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon & Paul Bicking
Screen Gems/Sony Pictures 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (37) times Mild 10, Moderate 27

Obscene Language: Continuous (330) F-word 211, s-word 98, other 2

Profanity: Many (13) times Exclamatory 10 (MG, OMG 7, OG 2); regular 3 (Swear to G 2, G)

Violence: Few times Moderate (man slapped/shoved, man shot, gun threats)

Sex: Graphic once (group sex in park with breast/rear nudity); Implied several times (couples on bed with breast nudity, couple on couch, couple in bathroom, three in bed with full rear nudity)

Nudity: Breast nudity, rear female/male nudity in sex scenes

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (crude sexual references, woman goes into bathroom with man, unmarried couple living together)

Drugs: Several times alcohol drinking, cigarettes, teenage girl smoking cigar possibly marijuana, marijuana smoked several times, reference to being drunk in past

Other: Racial slurs, rebellious teenagers talk back/lie to parents, participate in promiscuous sex, theme of changing life/character, reference to Saul of Tarsus changing, white teens trying to be black, cop uses blackmail and bribery, murder not punished

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and young adults

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