Whiteboys Directed by Marc Levin A Fox Searchlight release Opens October 8
Despite the ascendancy of hick-hop stars like Eminem and Kid Rock, despite the ongoing Hilfiger-underwritten experiment in selling black culture to conspicuously white consumers, despite the disenfranchisement of the invisible white underclass, Whiteboys is not a movie that can afford to take itself seriously. The sight of heartland farm teens in baggy B-boy drag, freestyling in their rec rooms and twanging ghetto slang they picked up from MTV, is too absurdly funny and pathetic to withstand the leakage of any weighty Issues into the frame. Based on a character created for the stage by Danny Hoch, Whiteboys concerns the Iowa Gangsta Blood Thugs working-class Flip (Hoch, who cowrote the script), middle-class Trevor, and straight-out-the-RV James, who eschew walking the local mall in favor of Philly blunts and daydreams of success on Death Row (these fantasies feature cameos from Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, and Snoop Dogg). Flip claims that his skin color is an accident, an obstacle he has to surmount so he can keep keepin' it real. He presses this point hard with one of the few black kids at school, Khalid, who has cousins in Chicago Flip hopes can introduce him to the thug life; a subsequent episode in which a black drug dealer dies in a firefight with cops seems contrived only so that Flip can learn a valuable lesson about what it really means to "represent." It's a lesson lost on Hoch, who never decides what view to take of his subjects should he wax those chumps like candles or let them rock the mic like vandals? Where's Marty DiBergi when you need him?