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"All About the Benjamins"

Directed by Kevin Bray.
Written by Ice Cube and Ronald Lang.
Starring Ice Cube, Mike Epps, and Eva Mendes.
Release Year:  2002 
Review Date:  3/11/02


Ice Cube and Mike Epps starred in the so-so sequel “Next Friday” two years ago, and while the movie wasn't too great, Epps was hilarious so I figured he might be worth checking out again.

“All About the Benjamins” isn't going to surprise you, and it isn't going to be a good primer on excellence in storytelling.  But damn, this is some funny shit!  Cube stars as Jackson, a Miami-based bounty hunter that is assigned to track down bond dodger Reggie Wright (Epps).  When Jackson runs across a separate diamond heist while chasing down Wright, he decides to thwart the diamond runners with the help of Wright, who needs to find the criminals because he has lost a $60 million lotto ticket in the criminals' getaway car.

Whatever.  This is all just an excuse to have Epps shit-talk nearly every character he comes in contact with, and he does it so well that you can just turn the brain off and listen to him run his mouth for 90 minutes.  In-between, you can soak in the sights and sounds of South Beach and downtown Miami, which is on full display here and because Miami is my favorite city, you KNOW how happy I was to see them filming near the Clevelander and in Little Havana and in some of the parks around town.  Beautiful!  There is a car chase or two sprinkled in there for good measure, and Cube is getting pretty good at his own comic timing, as evidenced by his work here.  (I felt like in “Next Friday”, he was just standing around while waiting for someone else to tell the jokes; here, he seems to know that it ain't that easy!)

Sure, you have got your run-of-the-mill bad guys, gratuitous gunfire and a torture scene that feels out of place in a comedic film.  But, there are enough funny scenes here to make you forget about all of that.  And, if you are lucky, they will show you a preview for Eddie Griffin's upcoming film “Undercover Brother”...this might be the funniest trailer I have ever seen.  We'll see if the movie has more jokes than the trailer does.

Rating:  $9.00 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09