BLACK AND WHITE, written and directed by James Toback, is for filmgoers
who like fast-paced movies that assault their senses with a plethora of
stereotypes. During the opening credits, an interracial threesome
engages in wild sex in the woods while another guy guards the lovebirds
with a big gun. Most of the blacks in the movie are criminals who
appear to have low IQs. The young whites, on the other hand, want to
imitate them and try to become black. Neither race comes off very well.
Given Toback's last film, the insufferable TWO GIRLS AND A GUY, perhaps
one should not be surprised by how atrocious BLACK AND WHITE is.
After the opening sequence, we cut to a scene in which the white teenage
girl, Charlie (Bijou Phillips), from the threesome in the woods, is
having a formal dinner with her family. As classical music plays in
their Central Park West home and as the mother goes on about the quality
of the quail, the daughter trash-talks her father with a heavy black
accent. What does her father do? Corrects her grammar, reminding her
about avoiding double negatives. Of yes, their servants are black, of
A good cast of thousands is wasted in a movie with a script that feels
like it was torn apart and reconstructed at random. There are more
subplots and characters than you can count.
Allan Houston plays a basketball player whose sense of morals ends the
moment someone waves a wad of cash in front of him. Ben Stiller is the
As documentarian Sam Donager, Brooke Shields is an obsessive filmmaker
who would never think of stopping the camera even when a heavy-weight
champion (Mike Tyson, who proves he can't act) is strangling her
husband. Robert Downey, Jr. plays her flagrantly gay husband.
Sam's documentary is about white kids who want to be black and part of
the hip hop culture. The white kids even refer to each other as
"niggas." Removing the profanity would leave these kids -- black and
white -- with almost no dialog save some filler phrases like "What's
"It's all BS," says one of the characters. (He says the complete
phrase, of course.) And so is this disgusting and unappealing movie.
BLACK AND WHITE runs 1:39. It is rated R for strong sex scenes, drug
usage, massive profanity and violence. (Does anything get an NC-17
anymore?) The film would not be appropriate for most teens, who will
undoubtedly represent 90% of the audience in most theaters.
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes