Undercover Brother: Kerry Hayes
EW Staff
April 17, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Undercover Brother

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
83 minutes
Wide Release Date
05/31/02
performer
Eddie Griffin, Chris Kattan, Dave Chappelle, Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Billy Dee Williams
director
Malcolm Lee
Producer
Brian Grazer
distributor
Universal
author
Michael McCullers, John Ridley
genre
Comedy

We gave it a C+

Although it’s based on an online animated series created by novelist and ”Three Kings” scripter Ridley, ”Undercover Brother” will inevitably get compared to this summer’s other anachronistic spy spoof, ”Austin Powers in Goldmember” (the two films even share a screenwriter in McCullers). So what’s the difference? ”Smaller ego, bigger Afro,” says Griffin, who stars as Brother, a mack-daddy secret agent drafted by the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. (Chappelle, Harris, and Ellis) to rescue a black presidential candidate who has been brainwashed by The Man and his right hand, Mr. Feather (Kattan).

Disguised as preppy Anton Jackson, and equipped with an eight-track car stereo that blasts missiles and Parliament’s ”Tear the Roof Off the Sucker,” Brother infiltrates the enemy’s lair only to encounter The Man’s special weapon: White She-Devil (Richards), whom director Lee dubs ”black man’s kryptonite.”

But don’t expect a barrage of tired white-men-can’t-jump jokes. The film is a send-up of the funkified ’70s, when ”black American culture reached its high point…we weren’t out there just trying to blend in,” says Lee, who got his start working as a production assistant for cousin Spike. ”The Man stopped that by putting ”Diff’rent Strokes” and Urkel on television.”

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