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HEAD OF STATE

Why canít Chris Rock make movies as funny as he is? This time, Rock doesnít have an excuse ó not only does he star in the choppy Head of State, he directs and co-writes, too. Rock has given himself a premise that should have been perfect for his brand of satire: when a presidential candidate is killed in a plane crash, the party leadership (itís never mentioned which party) plucks his earnest DC alderman, Mays Gilliam, to run a lost-cause campaign in a cynical attempt to gain favor with " the people " for future elections. But as in every movie thatís ever been made about a little guy running for prez, Mays gains a huge following by telling like it is. Not that this honesty ever deals with real issues ó rather, it takes the form of that vague, chickenshit " Weíre mad as hell and weíre not going to take it anymore " routine.

When heís not sinking to this clichéíd level or wasting time with a love-interest subplot, Rock does come up with some funny and pointed bits, like an alcohol company that tries to appeal to underage drinkers with its Crib Malt Liquor. I just wish there were more sketch-like scenes like this. Bernie Mac stars as Maysís brother and running mate, and Jimmy Tingle does a nice job in a small role as a TV news talking head. (95 minutes)

BY MARK BAZER

Issue Date: March 27 - April 3, 2003
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