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'My Brother'

This torpid, independently made urban melodrama follows aspiring stand-up comic Isaiah (Nashawn Kearse) as he takes a job "moving packages" for some shady Middle Easterners in an ill-advised effort to make a better life for himself and his developmentally disabled brother (Christopher Scott). Soon Isaiah finds himself on the run from shadowy men in unmarked cars who want to bust his kneecaps, and we see in flashback how both boys came of age on the streets of New York—first under the care of their TB-stricken mother (Vanessa Williams) and, later, as wards of the worst state-run institutions this side of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. When he isn't trafficking in that risible old notion that a black man's only hope of movin'-on-up in America is by turning to a life of crime, writer-director Anthony Lover takes such a kid-gloves approach to his handicapped co-star that he achieves the opposite of the intended effect: Every time Scott enters a scene, it's as if someone just told the entire cast "Whatever you do, don't say 'retard.' "

 
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