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Paula Jai Parker
Eddie Griffin is Miles Waise, a fast rising nightclub comedian. His life is made difficult by his manager, who wants him to sell out for big bucks, and his brother Fifty Dollah, a scheming hood whose dream is to start a comedy club with Foolish. Written by
"Foolish" is a refreshing, honest, and scathing indictment of the racial inequality present in the film & television industry. It performs a powerful two-pronged attack on this subject matter through the wild comedy stylings of Eddie Griffin, and the skills of dramatic thespian Master P.
Eddie, who's rakish good looks and obvious capabilities as a modern-day Don Juan make one think that he is the second coming of Miles Standish, is the main character of the film. He portrays Miles 'Foolish' Waise, a semi-successful stand-up comedian who is being "woo-ed" by entertainment executives eager to harness his humorous talents. They sense that he is a masterful genius after hearing his stand-up routines. However, to say they are "routine" is to perform an injustice to Mr. Griffin. His stand-up performances delve into such previously untapped comedic wells as: the tensions and differences between people of different color, what it is like to grow up poor, and (his comedic tour de force) how "crazy" white people are.
Providing the Yin to Eddie's Yang is Master P as Quentin 'Fifty Dollah' Waise. I'm not sure if "P" had the opportunity to study under Adler, Strasberg, or perhaps even Uta Hagen, but wherever it was that he received training I'm sure that there is a proud teacher shedding a tear at the dramatic performance of "P". How fitting it is that "P", who's first scene in "Foolish" brought about comparisons to Olivier and Brando in THIS reviewer's mind, should have the first name "Master". For he has truly "mastered" the art of dramatic storytelling from an actor's and writer's perspective. Without giving away any details, watch for the subtle nuances in Master P's performance when the nubile young woman removes her clothes...10 seconds of pure acting brilliance.
Also lending assistance to this quality oasis in a desert of cinematic drivel are Andrew Dice Clay in an astounding performance as El Dorado Ron, whip-smart Traci Bingham as Simone, and (in a scene-stealing role) Swedish acting legend Sven-Ole Thorsen as Paris.
In most cases great films aren't made without quality production design and "Foolish" certainly holds nothing back there. It is clear that Master P must have mortgaged the entire 'No Limit' fortune to pay for the cost of this picture. The sets look convincing, background crowds appear dense and well-directed, as do the authenticity of street and studio scenes.
The costume design is ingenious as well. Master P's choice of the gold tooth was no doubt arrived at after an intensive amount of character research. One curious note however...It does appear that the budget for the women's clothing was stretched thin, as in some scenes they appear in little or nothing at all. Other than that, "Foolish" looks like a $60-$80 million dollar studio picture.
For the sake of providing the most pure viewing experience possible to the uninitiated, I will leave further details untouched. I think that my thesis regarding the point of this film is so convincingly and entertainingly proven in its viewing that I won't risk spoiling it here.
Ultimately I believe this story breaks new ground by dealing with exciting and inflammatory subject matter by using realistic, almost documentary-style filmmaking and performances. The stand-up segments are filled with fresh insights that investigate material that hasn't been investigated before. Master P's performance is capable of generating empathy from the most time-hardened cynic, and Eddie Griffin's character 'Foolish' makes us both laugh and cry.
My verdict?... FOOLISH = 'Master'-ful 'P'iece of Filmmaking!
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