22 July 2002 | Infofreak
What a frustrating movie!
I always find the idea of improvised (or semi-improvised) film making an interesting one, even if the results themselves are disappointing, and very rarely work (exceptions being some of the movies of Christopher Guest and Abel Ferrara). It's a risky idea because it's a true test of an actors talent. Some succeed and some fall flat on their faces. 'Black and White' is a perfect example of this, for every interesting moment involving say Ben Stiller, or yes, Mike Tyson, there's way too many dull and rambling scenes that go nowhere (come on down Brooke Shields and Bijou Phillips). What makes this movie even more frustrating is James Toback is obviously aiming for a BIG STATEMENT regarding race relations in contemporary America, yet the movie is so superficial and confused it ultimately says nothing much. Toback is a maddingly uneven film maker, but he is responsible for one of my all time favourite movies, the sadly underrated 'Fingers', so I usually give him the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately 'Black and White' is a missed opportunity and has very little to recommend it. I suppose Toback deserves some credit for at least attempting to do something other than mainstream Hollywood dreck, but ultimately a crappy movie is still a crappy movie, no matter how good the intentions.