Critic Reviews



Based on 14 critic reviews provided by
The film has some clumsy scenes, and sometimes the director overcrowds his comedy. The remarkable thing, however, is that for a mere $100,000, Townsend and company have made a funny, poignant and technically proficient film -- one that should thoroughly embarrass those studios that routinely offer up badly made, multimillion-dollar disasters.
An exuberant satire, uneven but tirelessly energetic, with the kind of comic bluster that can override any lapse. It's funny, ragged, appealingly mean-spirited and very easy to like, even if it plays as a series of skits rather than a coherent whole.
Hollywood Shuffle is boisterous, out-at-the elbows movie making, an uneven series of skits, really, rather than a consistent whole. But there are wonderful comic moments here, alongside ones that droop from having gone on too long. And pervading the film is an unquenchable air--of optimism, even of community, which uses comedy to address some grievous inequities.
Likeable Robert Townsend — who also co-wrote and directed — is a delight in this patchy but consistently enjoyable chronicle of a young black actor’s efforts to crack Hollywood.
Despite the film's conspicuously minuscule budget and shaky narrative structure, it is funny. If you value enthusiasm and imagination more than glossy sophistication, you'll laugh.
Under the circumstances, Hollywood Shuffle is an artistic compromise but a logistical triumph, announcing the arrival of a new talent whose next movie should really be something.
Chicago Tribune
The comedy is unevern, but more gags work than don't. [8 May 1987, p.7-C]
It's a pleasant enough diversion, in an amateurishly personal sort of way, though Townsend's frequent recycling of actors (for reasons of budget rather than laughs) makes for some odd Pirandellian confusions.
Most amusing of these is a school for black actors, run by whites, of course, where the students are trained to shuffle, jive and generally fit the preconceived notion of what blacks are like. Another brilliantly conceived bit is Sneakin’ into the Movies, a takeoff of the Siskel & Ebert film reviewing TV show.
Rarely has a film so ineptly directed produced so much intentional laughter.

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