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Bamboozled

I find it almost impossible not to like Spike Lee movies. No matter what shortcomings they might have, he provokes thought and gives the only serious political voice to the concerns of American blacks on film today that aren't pre-packaged with gangsta rap lyrics by Fubu or Nike.

Black TV writer Delacroix (Wayans), with assistant (Smith), decide to rebel against the thirst for all things 'gangster' in the media and the demands of his boss (Rapaport). He pitches a reprise of the black and white minstrel show of the early 20th century, where the black was always a stupid, unemployed opportunist and cheat. Expecting it to be so offensive to all races it starts riots, it instead becomes a sensation and audiences can't get enough, Delacroix left holding the bag of guilt.

It isn't always clear whether Lee's point is that the portrayal of blacks in the media doesn't matter as long as we realise that real blacks are as uncategorisable as whites, or whether the minstrel era was the height of modern black slavery - when the black man existed for the comic amusement of whites.

But maybe his point isn't to make so strong a point, but to get you to ask yourself whether such a thing would be so offensive? One standout line comes when Delacroix is bawling out a heavy hitting Jewish TV consultant for thinking black audiences can be so pigeonholed - that all blacks don't believe, act or talk the same.

Shot half on video with a very documentary style, some frills seemed unnecessary. Wayans' accent and demeanour didn't really explain his origins (maybe that was the point), but Rapaport is brilliant as the white TV exec, and all other performances (particularly by Smith) are strong support.

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