on August 01, 2008 by Francesca Dinglasan
Laughs trickle rather than abound in "Malibu's Most Wanted," whose story about a hip-hop-loving white boy from the rich side of the tracks is, at its heart, another bigscreen take on the be-true-to-yourself morality tale.

Jamie Kennedy, who first developed the film's central character "B-Rad" Gluckman on his television comedy program "JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment," plays his beach community-bred "playa" with gusto, exuding the perfect specimen of an urban poseur, from his Coach-logoed sun visor to his ghetto-inflected slang clearly inspired by hip-hopper Snoop Dogg (who performs a voice cameo in the film). When B-Rad's wannabe ways start to interfere with his father's (Ryan O'Neal) bid for California governor, the politician's campaign manager (Blair Underwood) hires actors P.J. (Anthony Anderson) and Sean (Taye Diggs) to stage a mock kidnapping of B-Rad in order to take him to South Central Los Angeles to see the real 'hood and "scare the white into him." However, B-Rad, whose longtime affinity for rap music is alluded to through a flashback scene revealing a five-year-old Brad listening to Run-DMC on his maid's walkman, proves himself to be much more sincere about his passion than appearances would lead those around him to believe.

Though not without its chuckles, "Malibu's Most Wanted" is ultimately a one-joke film that wears out its charm long before its 86-minute run is over. Anderson and Diggs' supporting performances as would-be thespians who know even less about the 'hood than their kidnap victim play nicely against Kennedy's caricature, but an all-too-tidy plot wrap-up sinks the cast's efforts to keep "Malibu's" humorous edge afloat. Silly but not always satisfying, Kennedy's trademark satirical style is really what's most wanted--but missing--in "Malibu." Starring Jamie Kennedy, Taye Diggs, Anthony Anderson, Blair Underwood, Regina Hall and Ryan O'Neal. Directed by John Whitesell. Written by Fax Bahr, Adam Small, Jamie Kennedy and Nick Swardson. Produced by Mike Karz, Fax Bahr and Adam Small. A Warner Bros. release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for sexual humor, language and violence. Running time: 86 min

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