In what universe does a New York Jewish socialite and a hardcore, streetwise rapper sound like a good pairing for a romantic comedy?
Oy, is Marci X an awful movie. Not a single shred of intelligence in it. But if you need to know the story, here it is. Marci Feld (Lisa Kudrow) is a somewhat spoiled Jewish-American princess, thanks to her father Ben Feld (Richard Benjamin), a corporate mogul. She has lived an extremely pampered life but also has been fairly successful in her altruistic endeavors. Marci can organize any fund-raiser for any disease of the week and bring in thousands of dollars while her friends declare ''Marci cares! Marci loves!'' but does she really? Well, she'll have to start because she is soon faced with the daunting task of taking over after her father suffers a stress-induced heart attack watching his empire start to crumble. Seems that somewhere within daddy's vast holdings, there is a hardcore rap label, Felony Assault, which suddenly comes under siege after the label's star rapper Dr. S (Damon Wayans) releases his latest album. The songs are tad on the ''controversial'' side, with titles such as ''It Ain't My Baby Because I Don't Like You'' and ''Shoot Ya' Teacha!'' and has elicited the ire of a conservative right senator Mary Ellen Spinkle (Christine Baranski) who vows to ruin Dr. S--and Ben Feld along with him. To rescue her father's plummeting stock, Marci, in her own special way, attempts to tone down the rapper's bad-boy edge but the two end up falling in love. And the rest, shall we say, is history.
You have to feel somewhat sorry for the actors in this movie. Audiences can go see it and forget about it the minute they hit the theater parking lot, but Marci X's cast are going to have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Seriously, Marci X isn't something an actor would want to put on their resume, especially Kudrow, who really does have a great deal of talent as a comedian, if given the right material (i.e. Friends). Instead, her Marci is forced to come out on stage in a Chanel suit, perfect hair, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag, just as white as she can be, and belt out a rap song about the ''power of her purse'' in front of a predominantly black audience--and then win them over. It's sad. Not even Reese Witherspoon could get away with this, let alone Kudrow. Wayans, too, must be shaking his head, thinking ''I haven't done a movie since 2000's Bamboozled and really haven't had a film hit, like ever, so I pick Marci X to star in?'' To his credit, Wayans does look like he has some fun being the in-your-face Dr. S (full name Dr. Snatchcatcher), strutting around with a funky afro and gold teeth--but he should just stick with his successful TV sitcom My Wife and Kids and give up on a movie career.
Still, these two actors ultimately must have been swayed by the what they thought would be potentially funny stuff, considering who was involved behind the scenes. Meaning, Marci X must have looked really super on paper. Attached is Scott Rudin, one of Hollywood's more prolific and successful producers, whose numerous credits include The Hours, The Royal Tenenbaums and Wonder Boys. The writer is Paul Rudnick, who has written good comedies such as In & Out and Addams Family Values, and the director is Marci X co-star Richard Benjamin, one of cinema's greatest comic actors (Goodbye, Columbus; The Sunshine Boys) and fairly successful director (My Favorite Year). What happened with Marci X, for chrissakes? Who says it's funny to have four spoiled Jewish girls come out on the dance floor at a hip-hop club and do an African tribal dance--and win the crowd over again? Or watch the eternally uptight Spinkle privately getting jiggy with it when she hears one Dr. S' songs? Nothing, absolutely nothing is remotely funny in this movie--more bile-producing than anything else.
When choosing a film at your local movie theater this weekend, buy a ticket to any other movie on the marquee besides Marci X. Or better yet, just stay home because this year's end of the summer selection is just too pitiful for words. Can this month just be over with already?