|Don't be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood|
|Written by Bill Warren|
|Tuesday, 20 September 2005|
The most effective way of doing a parody of this nature is to follow a standard, serious plot quite rigidly; it gives you something to keep coming back to between spoofs, lampoons, satires and parodies. Look at “Airplane,” the movie that kicked all this off—underneath all the clever foolishness is a very standard airplane-in-danger tale. But in “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” there really is no plot to return to, just a situation. Familiar scenes are trotted out, spoofed, then hustled off to be replaced by another. When enough gags were assembled, shooting stopped.
“Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” does generate a fair amount of laughs, starting from the opening scene. A young black man enters a suburban Los Angeles street, talking to the camera about how he grew up—Bang, he’s shot dead. Another kid comes out and begins a similar speech—Bang, he’s shot dead, too. The third guy, Ashtray (Shawn Wayans), isn’t shot, so it’s his story we see.
His best pal is his cousin Loc Dog (Marlon Wayans), who’s deeper into gang culture and everything else than the innocent, virginal Ashtray. Loc Dog has thingies in his hair—dice, a tea bag, etc.—constantly screws up his face, and carries guns. Marlon is pretty funny in his role, but a little goes a long way and he wears out his welcome before the end of the movie.
Ashtray really wants to get laid, and at a block party—everyone, but everyone is drinking from quarts of malt liquor—he meets the been-around-the-block Dashiki (Tracey Cherelle Jones). Watch out for her, he’s warned, she has more kids than Miz Wayans. (The Wayanses sometimes turn their jokes on themselves.) But Ashtray thinks she’s swell.
The movie picks up plots and characters, discards them casually and moves on. Gags are wheeled in—the boys play Po’Nopoly in which one of the hazard cards reads “An all-white jury has just handed down a racially biased verdict; you get mad and burn down allyour property.” A game at the police station allows officers to beat up electronic Rodney Kings. Guest stars show up, including Vivica A. Fox, Omar Epps, Bernie Mac and founding Wayans, Keenen Ivory. Everytime someone says something profound, he shows up to announce “Message!” In case you don’t get it, he’s usually dressed as a mail carrier.
This DVD is described as “uncensored,” but it’s impossible to tell what has been restored, and the running time on the DVD box is the same as the theatrical release. In any event, it’s not graphically violent, so the rating was probably for the liberal use of naughty words, particularly the F-Word. One family seems to say little else.
“Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” is reasonably chipper and well paced; it’s shot in bright colors on real L.A. locations, and the large cast is enthusiastic about the work. But director Paris Barclay can’t sustain scenes because there’s nothing TO sustain; it’s just a collection of gags, some funny, some not. It’s below the level of Keenen’s “I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka,” but above “Scary Movie 3.”
The DVD is well-produced with colorful displays, but features only two very similar making-of shorts produced at the same time as the film. The DVD is well made, the movie is so-so; you pays yer money and you takes yer choice.