Marci X

on August 22, 2003 by Tim Cogshell
The central failure of "Marci X" isn't its pilfering of equally bad films like "Trading Places" or "Bringing Down the House." The problem isn't even the fact that co-stars Lisa Kudrow (who has been good on film: see "The Opposite of Sex") and Damon Wayans (who has never been good on film) have no chemistry whatsoever. The fatal flaw of "Marci X" is its complete and total disconnect from the contemporary zeitgeist of hip-hop culture in American society. It still thinks white people don't get it. It's pre-Eminem in a post-Eminem world, where not only do the children of suburban soccer moms bust rhymes on the ride to Chuck E. Cheese--the moms do too.

Marci Feld (Kudrow) is the daughter of media mogul Ben Feld (Richard Benjamin, who also directs)--a man who owns so much stuff he can't keep track of it all. One of the things he owns is Felony Records, home of hardcore rapper Dr. S (Damon Wayans). Known for such lyrical classics as " I Love You Because I'm High," "The Power in My Pants" and " It Ain't My Baby Because I Don't Even Like You," Dr. S has raised the ire of the media as well as that of an ultraconservative senator (Christine Baranski). Marci, in trying to protect her father's investment, is supposed to reign in Dr. S, but in the process feels the funk. Dr. S, on the other hand, is really just an emotionally neglected softy with more in common with Stuart Smalley than any real rapper. The film treads on the idea of a divide between white and black America, wherein neither side really gets the other but we're all more alike than we think. It's an idea that's so a decade ago. Knowing hip-hop lyrics today equates with quoting Dylan Thomas or Jack Keroauc in the '60s. It's counter-culture as culture, and everyone is in the know, except, apparently, the filmmakers of "Marci X," including octogenarian director Benjamin ("Mrs. Winterbourne") and screenwriter Paul Rudnick ("In & Out"), both of whose credits do not suggest the slightest acquaintance with thug life. Starring Lisa Kudrow, Damon Wayans, Christine Baranski and Richard Benjamin. Directed by Richard Benjamin. Written by Paul Rudnick. Produced by Scott Rudin. A Paramount release. Comedy. Rated R for language and sexual content. Running time: 85 min

Tags: Starring Lisa Kudrow, Damon Wayans, Christine Baranski and Richard Benjamin. Directed by Richard Benjamin, Written by Paul Rudnick, Produced by Scott Rudin, Paramount, Comedy

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