Bamboozled

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 4 out of 23

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  1. SethB.
    May 14, 2001
    8
    The only reson I can't give this movie a 10 is the ending left something to be desired. The overall movie itself however was brilliant, even if it was painfull to watch at times. What Lee was attacking was not only the media and blacks that all too often ignorantly self parody themselves, it was society itself. In case nobody got it, it was almost a direct attack on the televison The only reson I can't give this movie a 10 is the ending left something to be desired. The overall movie itself however was brilliant, even if it was painfull to watch at times. What Lee was attacking was not only the media and blacks that all too often ignorantly self parody themselves, it was society itself. In case nobody got it, it was almost a direct attack on the televison show,"In Living Color" showing the many parallels between it and the minstrel show. Society loved that show, and the question Lee asks without ever asking is 'Why?' Expand
  2. YoungY.
    Jun 20, 2003
    5
    Some brilliant moments. That is about it. A massive dosage of self-proclaimed profundity of Spike Lee's -- unfortunately, he lacks both philosophy and narrative palletes to materialize and expand the issue. It is as though Spike is full of self-pity when it comes to the issue of racism and its history and angry at everyone but himself. I advise Spike not to take interest in the issue Some brilliant moments. That is about it. A massive dosage of self-proclaimed profundity of Spike Lee's -- unfortunately, he lacks both philosophy and narrative palletes to materialize and expand the issue. It is as though Spike is full of self-pity when it comes to the issue of racism and its history and angry at everyone but himself. I advise Spike not to take interest in the issue he has never been genetically part of. Can you dig my philosophy, Spike? Then, why shoud we dig yours? Amazing abundance of miscasting and hence bad performances culminated by Damon's, for which I have to question Spike's sincerity as a director as well (no doubt of his "sincerity" as a visionary and issue raiser). How can anyone miss that Damon's character may lose interest after only 5 minutes from the opening? Without Womack and Honeycut, the film is dead, and they are given only a few moments of short personal conflict and comic relief respectively. To keep it short, I can conclude only that 1) as a visionary, Spike is full of self-grandeur and self-pity, which he channels into anger at every direction and eventually buries, in a spectcularly masturbatory, contradicting manner, what to do about the issue, and 2) as a director, he lost a grip in this movie and made it into a string of disjointed events. On the dvd, Spike made a short comment to the effect that his portrayal of a Jewish publicist does not indicate that he is anti-semitic. But, after watching the film, I can't help but get impressed that Spike would call a racist anyone who portrays a black publicist in the manner you did the Jewish counterpart. This suggests that Spike lacks objectvity, which I suspect is the main reason that Spike fails to expand the issue both philosophically and cinematically. In other words, too much subjectivity in observation and self-pity in himself to be even satiric. I would give only 3 out of 10 if not for the audacity to bring the issue out. I just hope someone would make a more meaning obsrvation of the issue on screen. Oh yeah, a white or asian director may do because it does not take first person experience to see the universal humanity in the issue. It may not be as direct or as personal. Yet, the lack of directness and being personal may do more good. Expand
  3. Tom
    Aug 3, 2002
    10
    Brilliant! IT really makes you think.
  4. JohnT
    Feb 3, 2007
    0
    In his other films, Lee makes fun of white people who belittle the contribution of blacks to American culture. In Bamboozled, he makes fun of white people who are obsessed with and revere the contribution of blacks. You can't win: It's almost as if Lee is saying there's no way a white person could ever admire a black celebrity for the right reasons. When the network brings In his other films, Lee makes fun of white people who belittle the contribution of blacks to American culture. In Bamboozled, he makes fun of white people who are obsessed with and revere the contribution of blacks. You can't win: It's almost as if Lee is saying there's no way a white person could ever admire a black celebrity for the right reasons. When the network brings in a Jewish consultant named Myrna Goldfarb (Dina Pearlman) to advise on a public-relations strategy, her mere presence is treated as an affront. In an attempt to defend her perspective, she mentions having lived with a black man and adds that her parents had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. at Selma, Ala. But Sloan and De-La don't buy her empathy, and neither does the movie. I'd like to say that any Jews who'd appear in a Spike Lee "joint" are traitors to their people, but I'm afraid I'd sound too much like Lee. Does he want that to be his legacy? He makes it so much easier to resign ourselves to our racism. Expand
  5. AndrewH.
    Mar 25, 2007
    10
    This is the most moving film I've seen in years. We had a party at my college where students wore "blackface" and, you know, I couldn't figure out what to think about it. On one hand, they were well meaning kids just going for yucks and trying to have fun - and it was funny. On the other, it seems like they, like the white tv producers in this film, perhaps love hip-hop culture This is the most moving film I've seen in years. We had a party at my college where students wore "blackface" and, you know, I couldn't figure out what to think about it. On one hand, they were well meaning kids just going for yucks and trying to have fun - and it was funny. On the other, it seems like they, like the white tv producers in this film, perhaps love hip-hop culture themselves but as a joke they don't seem to quite even understand - and there's a certain horror in that. Lee is criticized for not having a clear answer to his problem, well, and for not being clear in general. I disagree. There are certainly ambiguities along the way - Wayans' character development could've gone smoother. But Lee's great strength in dealing with race, and what made Do the Right Thing so great, is that he portrays all the nuanced positions in the debate in relation to each other, so that all the truths and all the absurdities of positions you actually identify with come through. The film is actually best (not worst) at its finish (although the action sequence is agreeably a bit much - perhaps fashioned after Natural Born Killers). In the very end, the tone we are left with is mournful. Lee profoundly asks, "What would it take to grieve our past so that its ghosts no longer haunt us?" Those reviewers who felt the film was confused just think there ought to be easy answers. Do the Right Thing, one of the greatest films ever made, did much of what this film did better - but this is as close as Lee has come to repeating himself as prophetic, bittersweet, funny, charming, greek tragedian. Underneath all the vitriol that gets tossed around is still the profound humanity of that film - but only in the end and "backstage". Is there a filmic sequence more poignant than when various members of the audience of the minstrel show, in black face (at first you are horrified they are in black face at all, and using the word nigger) stand and announce that they too are "niggers." You start thinking, well, it's not demeaning to black people then; it's a white fantasy and people are really joining together. But then that romanticized dream of universal-niggerdom comes quickly crashing down, when you remember the horror of what "niggerdom" actually means, when you realize the most authentically unique character in the film will be erased as a person by this movement. It's just so heart rending you can't help but join Lee in quietly letting go of the judging anger, the tittering glee, the capitalist free-for-all, the romantic conformism and you just have to sit still and watch and allow yourself to feel grief. He's got it nailed. Expand
  6. Stephen
    Jun 7, 2008
    9
    It boggles my mind how a film like "You don't mess with the Zohan" can have a metacritic score higher than that of Bamboozled. How does that even happen? If anything, it shows the current state that we are in as a society -- where a quick fix of laughter is more "enjoyable" than a brooding dark comedy/tragedy. For all the reservations I have of Spike Lee as a director and a It boggles my mind how a film like "You don't mess with the Zohan" can have a metacritic score higher than that of Bamboozled. How does that even happen? If anything, it shows the current state that we are in as a society -- where a quick fix of laughter is more "enjoyable" than a brooding dark comedy/tragedy. For all the reservations I have of Spike Lee as a director and a spokesmodel for everything that is "colored", this film was excellent in almost every way. I am fully aware that Lee fails to answer his own questions on race. Unfortunately, that is the problem with the whole notion of race. It being a social construction, there really is no "solution" for it. Using a rather postmodern approach, Lee explains this in an eloquent manner. Expand
  7. NedD.
    Sep 14, 2001
    3
    Spike Lee drops the ball big time. This is Racism For Dummies all the way, obviously he doesn't feel the audience is smart enough to understand his themes here so he proceeds to pound you upside the head with them over..and over..and over again. Insulting at the very least, yes, Spike, we get it already! Special mention for Damon Wayans in what is easily the worst performance of 2000.
  8. AlessioP.
    Jun 28, 2009
    4
    Basically, it's a mediocre film, like could be one made by college students. And I'm not talking only about the technique (the camera is always shaking, and the p.of views are questionable) or the acting (amateurish at best) but of the theme itself. Everyone is a caricature, a forced portrait of a stereotype. The end leaves you unsatisfied, because no one of the character is Basically, it's a mediocre film, like could be one made by college students. And I'm not talking only about the technique (the camera is always shaking, and the p.of views are questionable) or the acting (amateurish at best) but of the theme itself. Everyone is a caricature, a forced portrait of a stereotype. The end leaves you unsatisfied, because no one of the character is worth to stand up and worthy express an opinion: they are all stupid or out-of-reality regretful about racism. This is my first Lee movie, and since now i thought he was a great director since he is so famous. Until now. Expand
  9. RyanM.
    May 25, 2001
    10
    Brilliant. A staggering media piece turns into a genuine masterpiece.
  10. MichaelF.
    Mar 29, 2002
    8
    The Bad Stuff: A bit preachy and over-the-top. It got to just be silly and sterotypes white people. The Good Stuff: Acting, screenplay, humor, drama. It was really touching and an all-out important film.
  11. Spongeee
    May 29, 2006
    10
    Top 10 movie of all time. So many layers to enjoy this film on. Captures the struggle of African Americans in a white world, esp. when it involves billions of dollars, the media, and our culture as a country.
  12. LynneH.
    Dec 19, 2001
    10
    This film is brilliant on so many levels that it leaves one gasping for breath. Lee asks questions about assimilation, about striving, about survival, about selling out, and, especially, about negative stereotypes. He is vicious, but he skewers both black and white culture. His greatest point to me deals with negative, derogatory, stereotypes and why people to this day traffic in them.
  13. Apr 11, 2011
    2
    In this depiction of race and race relations, the white man is still in power and is only interested in exploiting black people and assuming black culture. The white TV writers and bosses are stupid, insensitive, and racists who love racist material. This is, of course, a racist presentation of white people. On the other side, you've got essentially two kinds of black people. AuthenticIn this depiction of race and race relations, the white man is still in power and is only interested in exploiting black people and assuming black culture. The white TV writers and bosses are stupid, insensitive, and racists who love racist material. This is, of course, a racist presentation of white people. On the other side, you've got essentially two kinds of black people. Authentic blacks who are part of the resistance, and the sellouts. You can tell which ones are the sellouts because they wear/perform blackface and get shot to death by the authentic resistors. The whole thing is unbelievably blunt, simplistic, and thoughtless exploration of race, power, and the history of racism in America. I suspect many will presume there is some kind of enlightened message buried deep within the satire that emerges with enough searching and pressure, but there's really no excuse for the kind of 2-D typecast representations of whiteness and what Lee sees as modern day uncle toms who play along. It's a crap way of telling stories, and it's a crap way of looking at life too for that matter. Looking at people and seeing only objects is, after all, kind of what started this whole race mess in the beginning. Expand
Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 32
  2. Negative: 6 out of 32
  1. 27
    If Lee's intention was to cement our loathing of blackface comedy, he's succeeded all too well.
  2. Nothing seriously detracts from the film's overall brilliance.
  3. The film's as chaotic and heavy-handed as "Summer of Sam" without the same sense of harsh reality.