Malibu’s Most Wantedi is a story about a rich young Jewish kid trying to be the best rapper in the world… and failing miserably.ii His parents are successful, ambitious, and they can’t for the life of them understand why their oldest son is always acting out.iii Is he that starved for attention ? Why won’t he think of his future, or his family’s reputation ? To say the least, it’s almost painfully… relatable, which is what drew me to re-watch it for the first time since it came out.iv
As B-Rad soon discovers, even if you’re thriving with realia, it hurts more when it’s for keeps.v But B-Rad Gluckman’s coup de grace is his audacity to act consistently. Sure, his poseurvi kidnappers fail to “scare the black out of him,” so tattooed into his impressionable psyche is the urban culture he knows from TV and video games, and sure, he’s only a tough guy for as long as he thinks the guns are plastic and the gun shots are fancy special effects, but he’s still a stone-cold wigger throughout.
What B-Rad represents (represent!) is brandished with pride, however misplaced according to people who think they know better, wherever and whenever he goes. He doesn’t live a schizophrenic dual life as a courteous and thoughtful young man about town, all while he harbours hate in his heart and foments political dissent through underground channels.vii Everything’s as it seems with B-Rad, which is the damnedest thing because no one can believe it, not even the audience. Unlike the rest of us, he isn’t acting.
It’s no cinematic masterpiece – it’s worthy of little mention and fewer awards – but the characters are true to formviii and it made me laugh. It may well have been that laugh at times, if to a lesser degree, but it felt good all the same.
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- 2003 starring Jamie Kennedy and directed by John Whitesell.↩
- No, B-Rad didn’t turn out to be much of a lyricist when push came to shove and he was far from the best rapper of all time, but he did find a pretty, compassionate, and motivated young lady to call his own and he did outcompete some douchebags for the priviledge. But that’s about it as far as we know. Time for a sequel I guess. Couldn’t be the worst one this decade. ↩
- Hint : the parents travelled a lot, worked even more, and so the two children were effectively raised by a combination of nannies and after-school activities. Not all kids turn out “normal” given this recipe. There are outliers.↩
- I don’t recall exactly when and where I first saw the film, but probably on DVD shortly after its release. ↩
- It’s also incredible how weird* kids behave when they’re sheltered, coming as it does gift-wrapped with the pretense of knowledge. Trust me. I’ve been to a lot of countries. Like, a lot. But I’ve fucked a grand total of zero foreign-local girls, so what can I really say I’ve learned from it all ? About the places I’ve been, probably little, even if about the people I’ve travelled with, almost entirely family, thankfully, much more.
*Sure, you think that being a wannabe hoodrat is “weird,” but isn’t it even weirder to have a perfectly inclusive, accommodating, and tolerant child, particularly if he has a penis and you walk around calling him your “son” ? ↩
- How ironic. And actually, how hilarious! Seriously, the popping back in and out of character of “Bloodbath” and “Tree” – one trained at Juliard and the other at the Pasadena Playhouse – was sheer, side-splitting comedy. The actor in me yearned for such an honest partner with whom to toil away at the craft. ↩
- Ahem. ↩
- With the exception of the fat “Monster” chick and the wobbly Kal Penn. Seriously, dude didn’t know if he was Indian or Iranian. Just pick a brown guy accent and stick with it. ↩