.

Black and White

Scott Caan, Gaby Hoffman, Robert Downey, JR., Jared Leto, Stacy Edwards

Directed by James Toback
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
April 5, 2000

It starts in New York's central Park. Drug lord turned hip-hop empire builder Rich Bower, played by Power of Wu-Tang Clan, leans against a tree while two rich white teens (Bijou Phillips and Kim Matulova) use him as a sex sandwich.

Connoisseurs will recognize this grab-ass moment as the work of James Toback, a writer and director (FingersTwo Girls and a Guy) who doesn't observe the niceties of Merchant-Ivory cinema. Still, this largely improvised flick about white obsession with black culture is whacked, even for Toback.

Brooke Shields shows up in dreadlocks as Sam Donager, a documentary filmmaker eager to record this obsession for posterity. At Rich's crib, Sam brings along her gay husband, Terry (a subtly explosive Robert Downey Jr.), who makes a play for Mike Tyson, who portrays himself with frightening verisimilitude. That's when the lisping champ calls Terry a "come guzzler" and starts choking him while Sam keeps filming.

Audiences will call "Black and White" many things, most of them unflattering. The blend of actors and non-actors can throw you. Model Claudia Schiffer struggles futilely with the role of Greta, the manipulative graduate student who lives with Dean (Allan Houston of the New York Knicks), a basketball star who takes a bribe from the cop (Ben Stiller) who used to live with Greta. And, look: It's Marla Maples as a trophy wife, and there's Raekwon and Method Man.

What's a fifty-ish white guy like Toback doing with this crowd? Fucking with us, as usual. But this lively mess proves that when Toback loses his head, he does it with style.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com