April 3, 2003

Head of Suck

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Chris Rock has done it again. In a follow up to last year’s hilarious Bad Company, Rock out-does himself. Head of State alternates between brash and poignant, edgy and endearing, and heavy and uplifting — all in one movie that’s full of laughs.

The outrageous premise of the movie is this: the Democratic party’s candidate for president dies in a plane crash. After his plane collided with that of none other than his vice-presidential running mate! Hard to believe, I know, but it gets better. They choose Rock to be the new candidate.

It’s not all sex in the Champagne Room for Rock. He was chosen as the candidate for a reason — with so few weeks remaining in the election, he has no chance to win. Basically, he is being offered up as a sacrificial lamb by a Democratic Senator who has his own eyes on the presidency in the following election. Rock shows the populous that the Democrats care about racial issues, thus propelling Senator Bill Arnot (James Rebhorn) into the presidency in 2008 on the power of the minority vote.

It’s a devious plot, but it begins to go awry when Rock amazingly begins to gain points in the poll. Shedding his false persona established by his “help,” Rock is convinced by his brother, Bernie Mac, to stop lying and “keep it real.” Rock begins talking about issues that matter to people in outlandish ways — rap video-style materialism and with the use of many expletives.

Mac is off-the-wall hilarious in this movie. Similar to Cedric the Entertainer’s role in the soulful Barbershop, Bernie Mac is both a ruffian and a truth-sayer. He is able to get to the truth of the matter, and he is able to have some knock-out fun. Mac invites the movie-goer to join in. The rollercoaster ride of laughter is almost unbearable. Be sure to adequately urinate before watching Head of State.

You can bring your kids to this movie, though. Rock delivers an uplifting message — “you can make a difference.” If you’re honest, hardworking, and incredibly lucky, things can go your way. It’s a beautiful sentiment reflected in many scenes in the movie. Most notably, Rock establishes a relationship with his love interest in the movie, even though the odds were long. He used his overwhelming personality and charm to overcome his height. See kids, anything can be done.

In between all of this action, Rock managed to infuse it with great humor. The mark of a great comedian is timing, and Rock has it in abundance. Seeing white people say “Fo’ shizzle” and “I want to take off all of my clothes” had me in stitches. I certainly didn’t want to see those old, wrinkly, white ladies in their birthday suits!

It’s great material like that, that had me writhing in my seat. Notable musical appearances were also made by Nate Dogg, surrounded by gyrating ladies while he acted as the modern-day hip-hop chorus, the emcee of the movie. Like other seminal films as Romeo Must Die, hip-hop music plays a large role in adding atmosphere to the film. Dogg’s narrated scenes in his trademark voice, added tremendous texture to the canvas.

The only other movies I laughed this hard at was last month’s Bringing Down the House, and Martin Lawrence’s back catalog. “God bless America, and no place else,” was Rock’s presidential opponent’s catch-phrase in this gut-wrenching laugh-fest. Well, let me say this: “God bless Chris Rock, and no one else.”

Archived article by Walter Chen