Jaleel White continues to flounder about aimlessly looking for a post-Family Matters career in Who Made the Potatoe Salad?, a mindless 90-minute excursion into the offensively cliched family comedy. Looking for laughs in all the wrong places, this effort from writer-director Damon “Coke” Daniels tries to cash in on every dirty race-driven joke it can think of without once pausing for a breath of originality. White plays, of all things, a police officer, who decides the time is right to move his relati…nship forward with the gorgeously awful Jennia Fredrique. That’s where the film takes a turn from the familiar to the overdone. Of course, her family disapproves right away, led by her former Black Panther daddy, who believes all cops are pigs. Lucky for White, he picked the right profession to set Daddy Dearest up with every “been there, done that” joke in the book.
As for White’s performance, I suppose he is a capable actor, but there are portions of this film where he disappears for what feels like an eternity, so the less than stellar cast can result to every outrageous gangland quip and situation to push the film along to its well-deserved R-rating they can think of. Of course, the real fault lies with Daniels’ humorless script and direction. Family comedies, both dirty and clean, should connect with viewers on the grounds we can see our own lives reflected in the situations and character play that arise. All of this film seems as staged as a suspicious crime scene, where the characters react based on the needs of the script – and that, ladies and gentleman, is an ass-backwards way to write any work of fiction.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic presentation looks as good as any recent film should nowadays, but the disc deserves little respect for the effort. Colors shine with the right intensity; blacks mix well. But this is a small studio comedy, and viewers shouldn’t expect any less. What the film does have in this department, it lacks in worthwhile content.
The 5.1 track carries a high volume – very intense, for such a low-needs picture. Both dialogue and action levels fall on the high end. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a low end at all; and while this may blow action movie fans away, the film doesn’t stay busy enough to utilize all its power.
After the fortieth “Po-Po” joke, and the 850th pedestrian use of the F-word, this comedy’s average run-time feels overwhelmingly like a marathon we’re all unprepared to run. But luckily, in this case, there is no shame in quitting the race before the home stretch. With only a run-of-the-mill A/V presentation to recommend it, Who Made the Potatoe Salad? is about as miserable as I’ve been in quite some time. Avoid like the plague, and save 90 minutes of your life.
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