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“Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood
Reviewed by: Kim Anehall
Genre: Comedy
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Languages English
Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Length 94 min
Rating Unrated
Release Date September 20, 2005
Studio Buena Vista Home Video
Commentary: None
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: “Hood Movie – Gumbo”, “The Wayans Brothers: Behind-the-Scene”
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: “Trailers”
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: “Deleted Scene – The Interrogation”
Music Video: None
Other: None
Cast and Crew: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Tracey Cherelle Jones, Vivian Smallwood, Chris Spencer, Helen Martin, Suli McCullough, Darrel Heath, Keenen Ivory Wayans
Written By: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Phil Beauman
Produced By: Eric L. Gold, Keenen Ivory Wayans
Directed By: Paris Barclay
Music: John Barnes
The Review:

The title itself of the Wayans Brother’s 1996 parody, Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, comically implies to several different films concerning African-American males coming of age in socially troubling environments. Some of the titles that come to mind are Boyz n the Hood (1991), Juice (1992), and Menace II Society (1993) among many others. Even though many of these films possess a high cinematic value, the Wayans recognize an excess of these types of films, as they provide a parody portrayal of the difficulties young African-American males face while growing up in rough neighborhoods throughout the United States. Guiltlessly the Wayans approach this theme with ruthless abandon while applying their traditional spoofing spin on it, which unquestionably will cause both irritation and amusement. ***

The story follows a similar path of Boyz n the Hood from which the audience will recognize the name Tré. Here the name has mutated into Ashtray, and is performed by Shawn Wayans. The film opens with a picturesque aerial shot of the neighborhood where a stop sign is one of the first things that attracts the audience’s attention, which states, “I wouldn’t stop if I was you.” It is a brief display of impending parody and the comic tone that will heavily play with stereotypes and prejudices, but it also hints of the merciless assault of satire that the Wayans will deliver in this film. ***

Ashtray’s mother drops him off at his father’s place while she states, “You know there ain’t no positive black females in these movies.” Ashtray is supposed to learn how to become a man from his father. Hilariously the audience will discover that Ashtray’s father is younger than him, and this immature character could not possibly teach Ashtray any character qualities such as responsibility and loyalty. Instead, the father informs him not to smoke or drink his stuff while also letting him spend bedtime with the women he brings home. Despite the crazy humor, the Wayans produce serious undercurrents that deal with racial issues, stereotypes across ethnic groups, and gender issues. ***

The social importance of friendships is seen through Ashtray’s cousin Loc Dog (Marlon Wayans) whose identity is more or less ripped off from O-Dog in Menace II Society. The parody does not take any hostages in this film, as it fools around with the idea of being in bad company. Together Loc Dog and Ashtray continue to display the daily struggles of living in the ‘hood. There are moments when the film presents high quality parody to scenes where the comedy sinks to the level of a third grader’s poop humor. Nevertheless, Don’t Be a Menace touches a part of the American tapestry with brutal honesty, as this spoof could also serve as a social criticism. The scene where they play Po’Nopoly, a Monopoly spoof, highlights some of the dismal situations where society limits the African-Americans. ***

Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood might suggest to some that there have been too many films about struggling young African-American males. Maybe the parody is on society, as several films have to be made, yet no significant changes have been made to help promote a better situation for African-Americans. The Wayans recognize the problem and through this parody deliver a message that something has to be done so people do not need to say, “Man, I need to get out of this place.” *** ---

Image and Sound: Vibrantly saturated colors, solid black levels, and no detectable shimmering help provide a clean and sharp visual experience on this DVD. Some edge enhancement can be noticed when the viewer searches for it, but it does not appear during a relaxed viewing. The image comes in an anamorphic widescreen presentation, which of course comes in its original aspect ratio 1.85:1. The audio quality has not been improved from the previous version of the DVD, yet it does not display any hiss or other aural interference during viewing. It only comes with an English language track, which is in Dolby Digital 2.0. *** ---
The Extras:

The DVD comes with short three extras, which is rather limited as it advertises on the cover of the disc that it has all-new bonus material. The most interesting is one deleted scene called The Interrogation, but it also understandable why this scene was left on the cutting board. Then the viewer can find a brief self-promotional behind the scenes feature where the Wayans talk about the film. Lastly, there is the feature Hood Movie – Gumbo, which discusses how they mixed the elements from all previous hood movies. *** ---

Commentary: None
Final Words: Don’t Be a Menace is not a terrific film, but it offers some hilarious moments that will cause laughter. However, there are also some rather offensive scenes, which should be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, it is worth one screening. If the viewer already owns the previous version of the DVD I suggest not double dip here, and if you want to see it rent it. ***

 

 
 
 
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