Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: An Ivy-League educated writer (Wayans) joins a comedy show at a major network. The show includes an all black cast, but is written by mostly white people. One of his first ideas is to have a skit where the cast wears "black face," and the show becomes an instant smash.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 32
  2. Negative: 6 out of 32
  1. 100
    Lee's incendiary and brilliant new film.
  2. It's a unique blend of history and hysteria, and there's no escaping the dead-serious ideas that run beneath its flamboyant surface.
  3. Spike Lee has grabbed a tiger by the tail in his scabrously risky new comedy, Bamboozled. The wonder is how long he succeeds in hanging on.
  4. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Occasionally biting but excessively melodramatic.
  5. 50
    Angry, potentially offensive movie.
  6. 50
    Primary story line is clumsy and badly acted. But he (Lee) reminds you that movies have power, that they matter, and for a few brilliant moments, Bamboozled matters more than any other American movie this year.
  7. Angry, fitfully provocative mess.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. Spongeee
    May 29, 2006
    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. Expand
  2. AndrewH.
    Mar 25, 2007
    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
  3. Stephen
    Jun 7, 2008
    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
  4. AlessioP.
    Jun 28, 2009
    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
  5. Apr 11, 2011
    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. 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
  6. JohnT
    Feb 3, 2007
    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

See all 13 User Reviews