29 April 2003 | tfrizzell
The Cradle Will "Rock".
An angry commentary on American politics and the current state of the Republican Party today is made quite clear in "Head of State". Chris Rock stars as a relatively normal man who is having a string of bad luck in one of the roughest areas of Washington, D.C. A heroic rescue of one of his elderly friends leads to Rock getting in the spotlight. Meanwhile the Democratic presidential nominee for 2004 has tragically died in a plane crash. The party feels they have no chance in the election so they come up with an idea to sway minority voters so the Democrats (namely candidate James Rebhorn) can re-claim the presidency in 2008. Get the picture? Dylan Baker and Lynn Whitfield are the two campaign managers assigned to Rock's cause, but soon Rock starts running his own show. Throughout, the Republican nominee (goof-ball Nick Searcy, a character that is an unsympathetic carbon-copy of President George W. Bush) continues to lead the polls mainly because he has been vice president for eight years, is a war hero and is also Sharon Stone's cousin. However, Rock's antics quickly make him the darkest of dark horses in a tight race. Along for the ride also is love interest Tamala Jones, ex-girlfriend Robin Givens (in a psychotic role), personal assistant Stephanie March and the priceless Bernie Mac (in a part that is way too limited). Mac eventually becomes the running mate for Rock. The fact that he is Rock's older brother makes him the most trust-worthy person in a twisted circle. "Head of State" has shades of Warren Beatty's "Bulworth" all over it. Rock, however would rather shy away with sometimes silly comedy than tackling the issues like the aforementioned film did. The Republican Party has already boycotted this film due to the way they are portrayed and that fact has made the production go into a minor financial tail-spin at the box office (overall "Head of State" has been a disappointment economically speaking). Politics aside, the film ultimately fails due to Rock's shortcomings as a director and screenwriter. He definitely has some things to say, but the way he conveys his thoughts are such a jumble on the big screen that the film almost becomes tedious. Rock has a likeable cast and yet he tries to carry the show by himself. This is not a very good thing in the end. Overall I do respect Rock's views and I do think he made a movie that pushes the envelope on some issues in the U.S. today, but in the end "Head of State" is just another potentially good production that never does rise to expectations. 2.5 out of 5 stars.