Reel Shorts | Meet the Blacks

meet-the-blacksThe story of small business owner, who acquires new money by illegal means, moves his family from Chicago to Beverly Hills, just in time for the Purge, in the unimaginative, unfunny film that audiences should be offended that it calls itself a comedy in Meet the Blacks.

The owner of a wiring business, Carl Black (Mike Epps) “finds” a huge stash of cash and drugs and just like that, Black is on the “come-up,” quickly moving his family to Beverly Hills. While he now has “moved on up,” nobody thinks that he belongs, a sentiment shared even by the guard on the gate who tells him that “ain’t no ni**a’s living up in here!”

His family is also walking ball of dysfunction, which includes his recently-released criminal cousin, Cronut (Roland Powell), his “Mexican” lady, Lorena (Zulay Henao) and two kids, his too-fast daughter, Allie (Bresha Webb) and his vampire-obsessed son, Carl Jr. (Alex Henderson). Despite the fact that Carl has hidden the fact of HOW he came into his sudden wealth, is only the beginning of their myriad of problems.

Despite constant special reports that “the Purge” is imminent, Carl believes that his new zip code, which comes with a fancy gatekeeper will keep him and his family safe. It appears Carl has never seen or heard of the first two films in The Purge franchise that clearly would have told him that during this government-sanctioned 12-hour period NOBODY is safe.

His attempts to hide are futile, not just from his inhospitable neighbors but from those he screwed over in “The Chi,” who show up on his doorstep in the middle of “fright night.” A collection of D-level all-stars litter the screen in small, unsupportive roles that not only don’t move the story along but will have audiences scratching their heads on WHY they would participate in such a mess of a story in the first place.

Closer in tone to 2009’s disastrous Next Day Air than The Purge, director Deon Taylor’s follow-up to Supremacy is an offensive, unfunny affair that wallows in the stereotypical mire that feels like a throwback to the cinematic coonish behavior of decades long past. Epps, who ironically is a much stronger dramatic actor than comedic one, is the center of the inaction that is neither wise or brilliantly executed.

A couple of years ago, Epps was in the news for his attacks on both Chris Rock and Kevin Hart around the release of Top Five. This film is evidence that Epps doesn’t belong in the upper echelon of top comedies and ironically is a much stronger dramatic actor than comedic one. Henao, not a stranger to REALLY bad cinema (Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club), has yet to find a vehicle to match her talent with her beauty. Hopefully, her agent will get on their job or they may not be a career to save if these bad choice become her norm.

There is nothing humorous or original in this film that is as funny as a Donald Trump presidency. Meet the Blacks is a hollow, empty vessel disguised as a film that wears its badge of ignorance and dysfunction proudly. Taylor’s attempt is well-meaning but the end result is a film that several years from now, NOBODY will admit to being associated with this debacle.

Grade: F