|Directed by||Malcolm D. Lee|
|Produced by||Brian Grazer|
|Written by||John Ridley
|Narrated by||J.D. Hall|
Neil Patrick Harris
|Music by||Stanley Clarke|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||May 31, 2002|
|Running time||86 minutes|
|Budget||$25 million|
Undercover Brother is a 2002 American comedy film starring Eddie Griffin and directed by Malcolm D. Lee. The screenplay is by Michael McCullers and co-executive producer John Ridley, who created the original internet animation characters. It spoofs blaxploitation films of the 1970s as well as a number of other films, most notably the James Bond franchise. It also stars former Saturday Night Live cast member Chris Kattan, comedian Dave Chappelle, Aunjanue Ellis, Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Billy Dee Williams, and features a cameo by James Brown.
The film begins with a back story of how black culture's popularity with the American public began to decline in the 1980s, when style and originality began to lose appeal in the public eye due to the persistent efforts of "The Man" (Robert Trumbull), a powerful Caucasian man in control of a secret organization that seeks to undermine the African-American community as well as the cultures of other minorities. The freelancing protector of the black community, Undercover Brother (Eddie Griffin) fights this organization's efforts to subdue the spread of black culture. In addition to the endeavors of Undercover Brother, an organization known as the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. battles The Man to ensure the continuance of black culture. Sistah Girl (Aunjanue Ellis), a female agent of the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., infiltrates a company owned by "The Man" in order to obtain valuable data that will let them stop The Man. At the same time, Undercover Brother breaks into the building. Before Sistah Girl can relay all of the data back to the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., Undercover Brother decommissions a computer unit, ending Sistah Girl's infiltration. Undercover Brother escapes security with the help of Sistah Girl. Later, after hearing Sistah Girl describe the incident in explanation of why she failed the mission, the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D.'s Chief (Chi McBride), is left in bewilderment.
The Man is infuriated that Gen. Warren Boutwell (Billy Dee Williams), a U.S. Army general based on Colin Powell, is considering running for president, and his lackey Mr. Feather (Chris Kattan) informs him of a mind control drug which The Man uses to make Boutwell abort his plans and instead open a fried chicken franchise. The B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. is quick to determine that this sudden change of heart is the work of The Man and recruits Undercover Brother for assistance. He is introduced to Conspiracy Brother (Dave Chappelle), Smart Brother (Gary Anthony Williams), The Chief, and Lance (Neil Patrick Harris), an intern who is the only white man in the organization due to affirmative action. The B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. convinces Undercover Brother to go undercover in white culture as a new employee at a cigarette company owned by The Man. Through surveillance, Mr. Feather discovers Undercover Brother's identity as an infiltrator and deploys his secret weapon that he calls "Black Man's Kriptonite": White She-Devil (Denise Richards). Posing as another new employee, she and Undercover Brother meet and start dating, and she begins to make him do stereotypical "white" things, such as buying corduroy and khaki clothes, singing karaoke and adopting a silly set of euphemisms.
The Man continues to use his mind control drug, distributed in the General's fried chicken, to undermine black culture by infecting John Singleton and Jay-Z. Concerned with Undercover Brother's unusual behavior, Sistah Girl attacks White She-Devil and convinces Undercover Brother to return to the fight. They are pursued and cornered by White She-Devil and her henchmen, but after a fight with Sistah Girl she shoots her henchmen, having fallen in love with Undercover Brother. They return to the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., where Smart Brother questions White She-Devil about The Man and Lance is officially made part of the group when he declares his desire to abolish bigotry after watching Roots. The group heads to a major awards gala after they find out that James Brown is The Man's next target. Lance accompanies Brown as a bodyguard, but Mr. Feather gains control of their limousine and kidnaps him. Soon after, the group finds an antidote for the mind control drug. They go to The Man's base, following the signal of a transmitter placed on Brown. The group goes undercover as a Jamaican cleaning service to procure Brown and "The Candidate", a controlled black man that the organization will use to land a crushing blow to black culture.
Mr. Feather receives a message from The Man himself stating that he will arrive on the island soon, and prepares to administer the drug to Brown and present him as a trophy to The Man. However, Brown starts to sing "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud", forcing Mr. Feather to acknowledge his hidden blackness, and Brown then reveals himself as Undercover Brother in disguise. Mr. Feather sends his henchmen after the infiltrators, who discover the Candidate is Boutwell, and is ordered by Mr. Feather to kill Undercover Brother while he escapes. In the fighting, Conspiracy Brother accidentally begins the building's self-destruct sequence. The B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. cure Boutwell and evacuate him from the building while Undercover Brother chases Mr. Feather. The Man's helicopter is in the air but turns to leave, The Man deciding Mr. Feather has failed him. Mr. Feather jumps onto the helicopter's landing gear as it flies away, and Undercover Brother uses his afro picks to impale Mr. Feather in the buttocks, causing him to fall into the water where he is eaten by a shark. However, The Man escapes and the building explodes, Undercover Brother survives by leaping off the building and using his wide pant legs as parachutes. He and Sistah Girl kiss and board the hovercraft and leave the island, the world at peace.
- Eddie Griffin as Undercover Brother/Anton Jackson
- Chris Kattan as Mr. Feather
- Denise Richards as White She-Devil/Penelope Snow
- Aunjanue Ellis as Sistah Girl
- Dave Chappelle as Conspiracy Brother
- Chi McBride as The Chief
- Neil Patrick Harris as Lance the Intern
- Gary Anthony Williams as Smart Brother
- Billy Dee Williams as Gen. Warren Boutwell
- Jack Noseworthy as Mr. Elias
- James Brown as Himself
Reviews of the film were generally favorable, with 77% of reviews being "fresh" according to internet rating site Rotten Tomatoes. The film, which was certified fresh on the site, received an average rating of 6.6 out of 10, with 96 reviews being positive and 30 negative. On Metacritic, another film rating site, the film received a 69% rating based on 30 reviews.
- Black Reel - Best Film Song for "Undercova Brother (We Got the Funk)"
- Official website
- Undercover Brother at the Internet Movie Database
- Undercover Brother at AllRovi
- Undercover Brother at Box Office Mojo