On this day in comedy on May 31, 2002, Undercover Brother was released by Universal Pictures
Eddie Griffin stars as the title character that was created by John Ridley. Undercover Brother has but one purpose – stick it to the Man. Based on the hit Internet sensation, the film centers on the renegade’s recruitment into B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., an organization formed specifically to stick it to the Man. Seems the Man has been trying to make blackness look bad and has a mind-altering drug floating around the hood. It makes black leaders and celebrities in the community go all coon and somebody has to put a stop to it.
Griffin infiltrates the Man’s criminal organization, but soon loses himself as he is under the influence of a deadly white woman (Is there any other kind?) sent by who else? The Man. Before long, Undercover Brother is an out & out Tom. Despite the pigment of his skin – he’s been converted into a white boy. It takes a bold, soul sister to get him back in touch with his blackness and B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. has one of those. Griffin is back to black and the white girl follows him to that side. She’s a traitor to her own (Surprised?). In a climatic plot to get James Brown to coon Griffin disguises himself as Brown and blows the case wide open (as they say in movie review speak) and goes off into the sunset with the sistah.
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, Undercover Brother was well-received by the critics. It won a Black Reel Award for Best Film Song and one for the film itself by the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards. The movie featured Chris Kattan, Dave Chappelle, Chi McBride, Gary Anthony Williams, Neil Patrick Harris, Aunjanue Ellis, Denise Richards, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Noseworthy and James Brown. Written by Michael McCullers and co-executive produced by Ridley, the music was provided by Stanley Clarke. On a budget of $25 million Undercover Brother earned $41.6 million.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: