Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Hollywood Shuffle”

(MGM Home Entertainment. 1987/2007. 1 Disc. Color. Rated R. 81 minutes. Directed by Robert Townsend.) Robert Townsend, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Damon Wayans, Anne-Marie Johnson, and the Hollywood Shuffle Players. Music by Patrice Rushen and Udi Harpaz.

Townsend’s satire (co-written with Keenen Ivory Wayans) on black actors trying to make it in Tinseltown still has some bite 20 years later. Reportedly filmed on a shoestring (Townsend’s credit cards providing the bulk of the financing), movie gave audiences the first look at the Wayans brothers and other up-and-comers. Best parts are the Black Acting School, Keenen as Jerry Curl and the Siskel & Ebert parody (Sneakin’ in the Movies with Speed and Tyrone). Townsend hasn’t fared as well as some of his co-stars in recent years (his highlight was directing The Five Heartbeats and his lowlight was the Halle-Berry-starring B.A.P.S.). Perhaps that’s why there’s no commentary? Only extra is a trailer.

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