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Men Without Jobs (2004)

 -  Comedy  -  19 June 2004 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 60 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Men Without Jobs is a comedy about Ish and Oz - best friends and roommates whose main goal in life is to avoid work at all costs. Ish is a graffiti artist who dreams of starting his own ... See full summary »

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Title: Men Without Jobs (2004)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Pancho
Stephanie Berry ...
Mrs. Morgan
Ishmael Butler ...
Ish
...
Mr. Morgan
Hope Clarke ...
Ms. Jackson
Anita Kopacz ...
Veronica
Bonz Malone ...
Oz
...
E-Man
...
Wolfy
...
Nola Darling Fan Club
...
Smokey
...
Junie
Roberta Wallach ...
Dolores
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Storyline

Men Without Jobs is a comedy about Ish and Oz - best friends and roommates whose main goal in life is to avoid work at all costs. Ish is a graffiti artist who dreams of starting his own hip-hop band. Oz is an obnoxious loudmouth, addicted to gambling and cooking shows. When Ish collects several thousand dollars in a lawsuit settlement stemming from a childhood accident, Oz tries to convince him to invest the money in a pyramid scam in order to help him pay off a debt to a sadistic loan shark. The stakes are raised when Ish's girlfriend Veronica gives him an ultimatum to either get a job or get lost. Ultimately, the two eccentric slackers are forced to wake up and realize that sooner or later, everybody has to get a job! Written by Matthewz, Mad

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Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language
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Release Date:

19 June 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Planet Brooklyn  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
At some point, you just gotta break new ground, right?
2 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"At some point, you just gotta get a job, right?," so states the back DVD cover of Mad Matthewz's Planet Brooklyn, as it details the lives of two incredibly listless and aimless young men. One is "Ish" (Ishmael Butler), the other "Oz" (Bonz Malone), two broke black friends who spend their days playing Atari basketball on the couch, wasting away and relying on their aspirations and list of creative names to get them a career in rap music. However, when Ish realizes that he has had a few thousands dollars lying around, thanks to a childhood accident, this gets both of their of their ideas flowing. Ish wants to spend the money by the seat of his pants, while Oz, a gambling addict, wants to invest it into a "pyramid plan" he read about in order to pay off his loan shark. In addition, Ish's girlfriend Veronica (Anita Kopacz) tells Ish that if he doesn't find work soon enough, he'll be single.

Mad Matthewz's Planet Brooklyn (also called Men Without Jobs in some circles) clearly wants to play by its own rules, often bearing a home-movie style quality with its imperfect videography and sporadic video production qualities. The downside, however, is that while attempting to create its own little set of rules, it adheres to the slacker-rubric that feels more manufactured than it does off-the-cuff. I instantly looked to compare Planet Brooklyn to films films of the do-it-yourself culture ("DIY-culture") of cinema, pioneered by the likes of Kevin Smith, Richard Linklater, and even Wes Anderson, or, if we want to get specific since the film follows members of an urban black community, Spike Lee's sublime debut Do the Right Thing.

Unfortunately, the dialog here is what kills it - characters speak in the sort of tone and with the perfunctory sentence structure that is used in films to set up the next scene rather than slow things down narratively and function in the current scene, with naturalistic dialog and a strong emphasis on mood and feeling. Planet Brooklyn instead goes for one-liners to jokes we've heard before, and character observations and traits we're already familiar with and hate seeing them passed off as something new and original in a film that should be committing an act of narrative trailblazing.

On the plush side of things, Butler and Malone prove likable and capable talents on screen, and Matthewz appears as if he wants to create something of an homage to Do the Right Thing with the film, using a lot of colors in the production and focusing his sights mainly on one specific area in Brooklyn, similar to what Lee's breakthrough did. The only difference was Do the Right Thing rightly focused on the characters and the unique people they were throughout the film, while Planet Brooklyn instead focuses on dialog and events that seem to be taken from the cutting room floor of a lesser entry in the Friday franchise or something along those lines.

What I'm getting at is there's not much meat in the film, and that's unfortunate given the wealth of potential and possibilities that lie when the idea of two slackers in an eccentric neighborhood encounter money or simply try to exercise their dreams. Planet Brooklyn is buoyed in the short-term by a unique and consistently interesting setting and a likable band of actors at the forefront. However, it's increasingly hindered by lukewarm dialog and a line of events that simply don't equate to the film's potential-ridden premise.

Starring: Ishmael Butler, Bonz Malone, and Anita Kopacz. Directed by: Mad Matthewz.


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