Owen Gleiberman
March 05, 1993 AT 05:00 AM EST

Amos & Andrew

Current Status
In Season
Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson
E. Max Frye
Drama, Comedy

We gave it a F

I realize that even the most acclaimed black actors don’t necessarily get their pick of roles, but did Samuel L. Jackson really have to follow up his mesmerizing, out-on-the-edge performance as a homeless crack addict in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever (1991) by starring in National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 and the imbecilic mistaken-identity farce Amos & Andrew? Without a doubt, this is the worst film I’ve seen this year: witless to the point of desperation, mired in the very stereotypes it thinks it’s debunking. Jackson plays some sort of fancy-pants ”author, scholar, and celebrity,” and Nicolas Cage, whose acting strategy increasingly boils down to showing up on the set without having combed his hair, is cast as a scuzz-ball crook. The two are thrown together by circumstances too tortuous to explain, and things just get worse from there. The writer-director, E. Max Frye (he’s best known for having scripted Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild), apparently thinks he’s being progressive by demonstrating that a black man can actually tie his tie and wear an expensive watch. Samuel L. Jackson, call your agent — and fire him. F

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