Published Sep 01, 2004One would imagine that with the amount of struggling screenwriters there would be enough decent ones to go around. But, alas, many of today's finest talents just don't seem to be able to get their hands on one. Case in point: many of today's comedies.
Innovative and truly funny comics who shine in their own element (whether it be in stand-up or on their own TV series) continuously attempt to move their way onto the big screen in weakly written films that not even their talent can save. Even more established funnymen (Eddie Murphy is a great example) seem to be having trouble executing their humour through scripts like they could in the old days (watch Beverly Hills Cop and Daddy Day Care back to back to see what I mean).
Bernie Mac (whose still-running Fox sitcom The Bernie Mac Show has been championed by many critics) decided on a script by Eric Champnella, Keith Mitchell and Howard Michael Gould (who I doubt ever actually collaborated but simply rewrote a mess out of the mess they were brought) called Mr. 3000 for his try at big screen success. The film has Mac playing Stan Ross, a retired pro-baseball player whose record of 3,000 hits is squandered when it is decided three of them do not count. So Stan has to hit the showers once again, playing ball with boys half his age in an attempt to be regain his title.
The plot, which initially displays potential, nosedives into a life lesson preaching cliché-fest with an awkward romantic subplot involving the equally wasted talents of Angela Bassett (who I once considered one of today's finest working actresses). Sadly, this problem is not unique to films of its kind. Sentimentality and the need to please the audience have been taking their toll, as producers look to their wallets instead of their heads. And people like Bernie Mac end up being rated PG when they should be rated R.
This is not to say that Mr. 3000 does not have the occasional shining moment; it certainly could have been much worse. Director Charles Stone III (of last year's Drumline) works hard to maximise Mac's talents. And Mac himself works well with what he's dealt. But Hollywood needs to start trying harder, or else people will start spending their nights watching The Bernie Mac Show instead of heading out to the movies. (Buena Vista/Touchstone)