In Jesse Vaughan's comedy, JUWANNA MANN, Miguel A. Núñez Jr. plays
Juwanna Mann, the new star of the women's basketball league, the WUBA.
The twist is that Juwanna Mann, as Jamal Jeffries, used to be the
most arrogant star in the NBA. He was an NBA superstar with his own
autograph stamp until he told off his coach ("You may call the shots,
but I'm making the shots.") and then took off all his clothes and
threw them into the stands during a league game. After that, the NBA
told him to take a hike.
As the story gets in gear, Jamal, as Juwanna, joins the Charlotte
Banshees of the WUBA, where he discovers the joys of cross-dressing.
He can pat other player's butts and ogle the women in the dressing
room. The script, mercifully, avoids the cruder aspects of this voyeurism.
Instead, it makes Juwanna into the sensitive human being that the
obnoxious Jamal never was.
Since Núñez demonstrates limited comic talent, it is lucky that Kevin
Pollak (THE USUAL SUSPECTS) was cast as Lorne Daniels, Jamal and Juwanna's
agent. As the story's straight man, Pollak gets some of the biggest
laughs. Lorne worries that, after the scam is discovered, his career
as a sports agent will be over and that he'll end up "booking clowns at birthday parties."
Once in the WUBA, Juwanna quickly goes from a classic ball hog to
the world's greatest passer. Think the Banshees will go on to the
championship? Think Juwanna's real sex will be discovered? And do
you think that Jamal's crush on Michelle Langford (Vivica A. Fox,
INDEPENDENCE DAY), the team's captain, will ever amount to anything?
Got them all right? I thought so. Once again, you learn that you
too could be a screenwriter. If you ever do become one, please don't
include a long and clunky ending like the one in JUWANNA MANN, which
forces the audience to fidget through ten pseudo-serious minutes while
waiting for the ending credits and the deleted scenes montage to break
the audience's awkward silence.
JUWANNA MANN runs 1:31. It is rated PG-13 for "language and sex-related
material" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ** 1/2. He thought the movie was
generally funny, but he hated Puff Smokey Smoke (Tommy Davidson),
the gold-toothed rapper who had the hots for Juwanna. He found that
character quite distasteful.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes