Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996) Film Review 4/5

I am not really sure if this movie actually qualifies as a cult movie, but I tend to consider all parodies to be B movies in their souls. If said parody movie actually parodies an existing and popular genre of B movies, that makes the parody even more of a B rated film. If this film is the product of the world’s largest showbiz family (in the non-Catholic category), then I believe that this film does indeed merit its place here at LivingCorpse.com.

The Wayans Brothers strike again, all 19 of them. The first real breakout movie for this enormous family of black comic actors was “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.” Then they moved on to “In Living Color”, they did this flick, then they returned to the parody gig with “Scary Movie” and the initial sequels that were progressively less funny. Anyway, the Wayans have become something of a comedy institution, and this movie is one of the reasons, along with the aforementioned FOX TV classic.

“I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” was a spoof of blaxploitation movies. “Don’t be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” is a spoof of, well, pretty much every generic early 90’s black gangsta movie. If you’re a pop culture addict like myself, you can pretty much pick out every movie they spoof when they’re spoofing it, even when they’re not all obvious like the spoof of “Back to the Future.” You can’t hit the pause button in this movie without finding a scene from another film being mocked, and that’s a good thing in these kinds of efforts.

The jokes are a combination of genre spoofs, individual movie spoofs, sight gags, actual jokes, dramatic irony, and of course, drug humor du jour. Some of the jokes work well; some of them don’t. There are more working jokes than failing jokes, though not all of the jokes are laugh out loud funny now that the movie’s almost ten years old. The Hammer spoof isn’t a good one, and it’s a little too long, but the scene at the end of Crazy Legs in the Jeffrey Ballet is hilarious.

There hasn’t been a movie made that wouldn’t be improved by the presence of cursing, jive talking, rapping and weed-smoking grandmothers, that’s for damn sure. Even now that most of the hood movies have faded from memory, the scene where Ashtray gets into a fistfight with Loc Dog’s grandmother is still one of the funniest scenes in movie history.

The movie, in general, is still very funny, but it hasn’t aged quite as well as it could have now that most of the people from hood movies are dead (Hi, Tupac), making hood comedies (Hi, Ice Cube), making crappy sci-fi flicks (Hi, Larry Fishburne), or flashing their breasts at the Super Bowl. Despite all this, though, it’s still worth a watch, especially if you’ve never seen it before. Be on the lookout for Bernie Mac, too. Blink and you’ll miss a great scene there.

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