Undercover Brother

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Undercover Brother
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMalcolm D. Lee
Screenplay by
Story byJohn Ridley
Based onUndercover Brother
by John Ridley
Produced byBrian Grazer
Michael Jenkinson
Damon Lee
CinematographyTom Priestley Jr.
Edited byWilliam Kerr
Music byStanley Clarke
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 31, 2002 (2002-05-31)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[1]
Box office$41.6 million[2]

Undercover Brother is a 2002 American satirical spy action comedy blaxploitation film directed by Malcolm D. Lee and starring Eddie Griffin. The screenplay by John Ridley and Michael McCullers is based on the Internet animated series created by Ridley. 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 and comedian Dave Chappelle as well as Aunjanue Ellis, Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, and Billy Dee Williams, and features a cameo by James Brown.


The film begins with a backstory of how African-American 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", 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 Man is infuriated that Gen. Warren Boutwell, a United States Army general (based on Colin Powell), is considering running for president, and his lackey Mr. Feather 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., a secret organization that battles The Man's influence, determines The Man is behind Boutwell's change of heart, and recruits a freelance spy named Undercover Brother to aid them.

Undercover Brother joins B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. which is made up of the Chief, Conspiracy Brother, Smart Brother, Sistah Girl, and Lance, an intern who is the only white man in the organization hired due to affirmative action. Undercover Brother goes undercover as a new employee at a cigarette company owned by The Man, where Mr. Feather discovers his identity. He deploys a secret weapon that he calls "Black Man's Kryptonite", an attractive assassin named White She-Devil. Posing as another new employee, she and Undercover Brother 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. Meanwhile, The Man distributes his mind-control drug through Boutwell's fried chicken, infecting other black celebrities and making them act white, as well as marketing the chicken nationwide to land a crushing blow to African-American culture.

Concerned with Undercover Brother's unusual behavior, Sistah Girl attacks White She-Devil and convinces Undercover Brother to return to the fight. White She-Devil turns on her own henchmen to save the two, revealing she has 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 an awards gala after they find out that James Brown is The Man's next target. Mr. Feather kidnaps Brown and takes him to The Man's base. B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. secures an antidote for the mind control drug and follows via a transmitter placed on Brown, infiltrating the base posing as a cleaning crew, to rescue Brown and Boutwell.

Mr. Feather prepares to administer the drug to Brown and present him as a trophy to The Man, and Brown reveals himself as Undercover Brother in disguise. Mr. Feather sends his henchmen after B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., who rescue Boutwell, and is ordered by Mr. Feather to kill Undercover Brother. 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. cures Boutwell and evacuate him from the building while Undercover Brother chases Mr. Feather to the roof. The Man's helicopter circles overhead and leaves, The Man abandoning Mr. Feather for failing 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 ocean, where he is eaten by a shark. However, The Man escapes. Undercover Brother survives the building's self-destruction by leaping off the building and using his modified parachute pants to escape. He and Sistah Girl kiss and leave the island, the world at peace.


Filming locations[edit]

The R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in Toronto served as the headquarters for "The Man".


"Undercova Funk (Give Up the Funk)" by Snoop Dogg featuring Bootsy Collins was released as a single from the film's soundtrack album on Hollywood Records, sampling "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)" by Parliament, from the album Mothership Connection, which was also featured in the film. A music video for "Undercover Funk" was also produced, featuring appearances from Eddie Griffin, Bootsy Collins and Buckethead.[3]


Box office[edit]

Undercover Brother made $12.1 million during its opening weekend, ranking in fourth place at the box office, behind The Sum of All Fears, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Spider-Man.[4]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 77% based on 130 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Fast-paced and filled with racial gags, Undercover Brother serves up plenty of laughs and sharp satire."[5] On Metacritic, the film received a weighted average score of 69 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[6]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave a positive review, stating: "The picture is crammed with shameless satire, engaging moments of pure silliness and jokes that border on the outrageous. It combines relentless energy with an aura of good nature for a formula that works."[7]

Later, Denise Richards said:

"That was a fun movie. We had so much fun doing it. It's so camp and silly."[8]


A sequel titled Undercover Brother 2 starring Michael Jai White, Gary Owen, Affion Crockett, and Brandon Hirsch was released on Netflix and directly to video in 2019.[9][10]



  1. ^ "Undercover Brother (2002) - Financial Information".
  2. ^ "Undercover Brother (2002) - Box Office Mojo".
  3. ^ "Snoop Dogg Gets Funky On 'Undercover Brother' Soundtrack". MTV. May 1, 2002. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  4. ^ "The Sum Of All Fears takes US box office by storm".
  5. ^ "Undercover Brother". rottentomatoes.com.
  6. ^ "Undercover Brother reviews". Metacritic.
  7. ^ LaSalle, Mick (31 May 2002). "'Brother' won't be denied / '70s-loving hero takes on the Man". sfgate.com.
  8. ^ "Denise Richards | WILD THINGS".
  9. ^ djvlad (2019-02-28), Michael Jai White on Starring in Upcoming 'Undercover Brother 2' Film (Part 18), archived from the original on 2021-12-22, retrieved 2019-03-03
  10. ^ Walljasper, Matt (December 20, 2018). "What's filming in Atlanta now? Undercover Brother 2, Limited Partners, Watchmen, Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, and more". Atlanta. Retrieved December 26, 2018.

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