Trippin'

on May 14, 1999 by Tim Cogshell
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   In the early '90s, during the second renaissance of black cinema, the "Boyz N' the Hoods" and "New Jack Citys" gave way to a series of afro-centric teen comedies ranging from the "House Party" trilogy to "Friday." For the most part, they were pandering and condescending attempts at drawing a niche audience using a studio executive's idea of how black teens wanted to see themselves portrayed on film. And if "Trippin'" is any indication, little has changed.
   G (Donald Adeosun Faison) is a fairly typical teen. He has an annoying family, stupid friends and he daydreams a lot, mostly about bikini(tm)clad girls. Nearing graduation, he finds that he's daydreamed high school away. He hasn't applied to college and he doesn't even have a date for the prom, so he decides to "get real." He fixes on the girl of his dreams (played by a lovely and talented young actress named Maia Campbell who, in a fairer world, would be making the films of Jennifer Love Hewitt). Between trying to satisfy his parents, earn the affection of his beloved and avoid the neighborhood drug dealer (Stony Jackson), G may not survive his senior year.
   It's all fairly typical teen comedy stuff, but, as conceived by screenwriter Gary Hardwick and director David Hubbard (who played Sly from the old "James at 15" TV series), it's patronizing and self-conscious. The film is a series of sophomoric teenage sex fantasies, filtered through a myriad of cultural stereotypes that are less funny than silly and occasionally insulting. It isn't a critical issue, because this is not an important movie. But it's certainly a missed opportunity. What might have been funny and endearing is instead just more self-inflicted negative stereotypes and marginalizing images. Starring Donald Adeosun Faison, Maia Campbell, Deon Richmond and Guy Torry. Directed by David Hubbard. Written by Gary Hardwick. Produced by Marc Abraham and Caitlin Scanlon. An October release. Comedy. Rated R for sexuality and language. Running time: 92 min
Tags: Donald Adeosun Faison, Maia Campbell, Deon Richmond, Guy Torry. Directed by David Hubbard. Written by Gary Hardwick. Produced by Marc Abraham and Caitlin Scanlon. An October release. Comedy
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