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With: Miguel A. Nunez, Jr., Vivica A. Fox, Kevin Pollak, Tommy Davidson
Written by: Bradley Allenstein
Directed by: Jesse Vaughan
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and sex-related material
Running Time: 91
Date: 06/18/2002

Juwanna Mann (2002)

1 Star (out of 4)

Hollow 'Mann'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I already saw Juwanna Mann when it was called Sorority Boys.

Fortunately, Juwanna Mann isn't nearly as tactless as Sorority Boys, though it's every bit as stupid. The result is that it's not a movie I actively hated, but simply a movie I was bored to tears with.

Both movies follow the exact same formula:

1) The hero, Jamal Jeffries (Miguel A. Nunez, Jr.) in this case, has something he wants or needs taken away from him. In this case, his selfish, grandstanding, ball-hogging behavior gets him kicked out of the NBA.

2) He flounders in indecision before seeing some kind of visual cue for a women's organization -- in this case the women's basketball team the Charlotte Banshees.

3) He tries on women's clothes in a quasi-humorous montage sequence and successfully joins the organization, calling himself Juwanna Mann.

4) He falls in love with a beautiful representative of said organization (Vivica A. Fox in this case) who becomes his friend and sees him as "one of the girls."

5) He's reluctantly unmasked in a public place, in this case a Banshees game, and the girl storms out on him.

6) He attempts a sincere apology but the girl remains mad at him.

7) The girl comes around and approaches him with the promise of love and marriage.

Written by Bradley Allenstein and directed by Jesse Vaughan, the film stuffs the most rudimentary jokes into this scenario, including the man-dressed-as-woman urinating in a men's bathroom while standing up and the scene in which the hero first appears dressed as a woman but hasn't bothered to think of a name yet (also featured in Mrs. Doubtfire).

And Tommy Davidson plays the standard character who falls in love with the man-in-drag and likes it when the man-in-drag violently pushes him away. Lines like "I like 'em sassy!" usually follow. (Remember the bellboy character in Some Like It Hot?)

I will admit that Davidson, who plays a gold-toothed rap artist named Puff Smokey Smoke, provides a few laughs with his over-the-top characterization. And Kevin Pollak manages not to embarrass himself as Juwanna's agent.

A basketball sequence in the film's center actually had me in stitches: Juwanna realizes that if he passes the ball to his attractive teammates, he gets to slap them on their behinds, usually pausing for an extra handful.

But the rest of the film ranges from lame, tired jokes, to unbearably sincere Oscar-clip scenes. Indeed, the last fifteen minutes contains not one laugh as Nunez attempts his best Sidney Poitier impression while humbly trying to set things right with his wronged friends and colleagues.

If you're tempted to see the film for the presence of Lil' Kim, you should be forewarned that she's only on screen for about a minute, and dressed far more tastefully than she has ever been on MTV.

If it wasn't so tame and boring, Juwanna Man might have been the Booty Call of 2002, living on in bad-movie infamy. Instead, it's destined to quickly evaporate from everyone's memory.

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