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Worth A Look25.93%
Pretty Bad: 22.22%
Total Crap25.93%

4 reviews, 3 user ratings

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Waist Deep
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by William Goss

"A Tolerable Thing To Waist"
3 stars

The director of the infamous Mariah Carey debacle 'Glitter,' Vondie Curtis-Hall, has finally returned to the big screen after five years in the television trenches with the urban thriller 'Waist Deep.' Although failing to evoke the slight exploitation charm of, say, last summer’s 'Four Brothers,' this effort nonetheless tops most films targeted at the same demographic. Still, even if it couldn’t have been shallower, one would think that it might have been slicker.

Curtis-Hall gets matters off to a swift start, even excluding the opening credits in an effort to cut to the chase just after a few minutes of father-son chit-chat (i.e. about 93.7% of the film’s total character development) between the recently-paroled Otis, a.k.a. O2 (Tyrese Gibson), and his son, Junior (or is it O3? what about O2.5?), before a sudden carjacking turns into a kidnapping, leaving O2 to team up with a street hustler, Coco (Meagan Good), in an effort to recover his son from the machete-wielding Meat (The Game). For the first act, every other line of dialogue is some expletive-laden variation of “I need to find my son!”, as O2 runs around with Coco in tow. With his cousin, Lucky (Larenz Tate), acting as an unofficial liaison between themselves and the gang leader, who demands a $100,000 ransom in exchange for the kid, the pair set out to rob several banks and instigate a gang war in the process (oh, and did I mention that this all happens to take place on the eve of the mayor’s rally against street violence?).

The modest intent to make a straight-faced B-movie ‘hood thriller is sincere, but the effort in the follow-through doesn’t quite cut it. One character even goes so far as to call the couple “a new modern-day Bonnie and Clyde” (as opposed to an old modern-day…forget it), a somewhat forced angle given that, when the audience is asked to support with their criminal ways, both the characters and the movie have adopted a buoyancy of sorts and ignored the abducted-son drive that caused so much initial pressure. O2 and Coco even find the time to break into the finest Hollywood homes and share that token scene of dreaming about that one exotic and elusive Mexican beach where they could just get away and start over with their lives, naturally accompanied by piano and followed by sex. Eventually, a rather sloppy and unexciting shootout blemishes the supposed climactic confrontation, then the story meanders on for another reel as cops take their time chasing the leads towards semi-tragic circumstances, which are then capped off with an incredibly pathetic whiplash of an ending that generates more genuine laughs than the whole of Adam Sandler’s latest opus.

Each individual chunk works suitably on its own, as if part of a bigger movie, not a mesh of about three different stories. Curtis-Hall, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Darin Scott, does know his way around a camera, bringing together scenes and performances with fortunate competence, but the basic tale is a little ungainly for its own good. Gibson can certainly scream, shout, and shoot, flaunting his brooding physique as necessary, and similar could be said for Good, a worthy counterpart who knows when showing some skin can save them some trouble. Tate is also adequate, despite being saddled with a foreseeable arc, and The Game’s relatively brief appearance gets the job done, whether hacking off limbs or barking out demands. As the innocent Junior, H. Hunter Hall (son of Vondie, natch) is borderline cloying, but, like the film overall, manages to keep his performance just on this side of worthless.

Save for constant profanity and a certain slice-and-dice scene, the R-rated 'Waist Deep' feels somewhat tame compared to some of its brethren. Perhaps gratuitous helpings of violence and nudity might have actually made matters a bit more entertaining, but for now, 'Deep' is only slightly dirty yet only slightly dull, despite that horrendously tacky ending that threatens viewers with the prospect of 'Waist Deep 2: Waist Deeper.' Then again, should that turn out to be the case, maybe the filmmakers won’t skimp on the bloodshed and boobies. I’d be down with that.

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originally posted: 06/25/06 05:04:16
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User Comments

8/25/20 morris campbell boring 1 stars
10/20/06 action movie fan exciting good story but deminse of meat too easy 4 stars
8/24/06 Zaw a lots of plot holes but its OK I guess. Same old stuff 3 stars
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  23-Jun-2006 (R)
  DVD: 10-Oct-2006



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