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PHOTOGRAPHY

UNDERCLASSMAN

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 93 minutes, deleted scenes with optional commentary, audio commentary, cast auditions, featurette

STUDIO: Miramax

RELEASE DATE: 1-17-2006

UNDERCLASMAN is comedy that just didn't work for me. As witnessed by the deleted scenes, it looks like some of the best material ended up on the cutting room floor. It is just your average cop undercover flick that comes off as a low rent version of Beverly Hills Cop. Nick Cannon is no Eddie Murphy. He is OK as an actor, but I just didn't find him very funny in UNDERCLASSMAN. The rundown of the plot is Tracy "Tre" Stokes (Cannon) is a bike cop who breaks the rules and is finally given the chance to be a cop like his father. He is sent undercover to investigate the death of a school reporter at a prestigious prep school. Other than finding the murder has something to do with a potent drug called Bliss and stolen cars, Tre has the hots for his Spanish teacher (that could have been developed further). If the director and Miramax had more faith, I wish they had left some of the character scenes in the movie (that they cut out). Roselyn Sanchez is hot as the Spanish teacher and Kelly Hu is again wasted in a role she could play in her sleep (still waiting for her breakout role). Cheech Marin does steal the movie in every scene he appears in.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Colors and shadow values are good, but the image does look soft.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Surround, French

Subtitles: Spanish, English

SPECIAL FEATURES: 20 minutes of deleted scenes show character bits that might have made UNDERCLASSMAN a really enjoyable movie and Cheech Marin has some nice moments too. The cast auditions aren't something that need to be watched unless you need to see four of the cast members read scripts in a room. The MAKING OF UNDERCLASSMAN is another standard Miramax promo fluff piece. The audio commentary for the movie with Director Marcos Siega and Writers Brent Goldberg and David T. Wagner provides some insights into the making of the film while one of them says an earlier version which is 30 minutes longer is the better cut of UNDERCLASSMAN.

FINAL ANALYSIS: UNDERCLASMAN is just worth a rent. Others may have found it a good comedy, but I just find it just OK. UNDERCLASSMAN is a film that should be revisited with a director's/extended cut.

this article is (c)2-1-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com