Mario Van Peebles stars in IDENTITY CRISIS, a slow-moving and confusing comedy with very few laughs.
Chilly D (Van Peebles) is a rapper and would-be clothing designer who's constantly fending off thugs and an unwanted personality transplant. It all starts one evening when he crosses paths, literally, with famous designer Yves Malmaison (Richard Fancy) at a banquet. Yves suddenly has a heart
attack and stumbles outside, while Chilly runs into him and is simultaneously struck by lightening. Yves dies but his mind is transferred into Chilly's body. Now believing he's Yves, Chilly heads home, going to the wrong apartment. But en route, he offends a brush-wielding old lady who hits him on
the head, causing him to fall to the ground. Suddenly, he's back to being Chilly. But before performing with his rap group "The Funky Four" later that evening, Chilly hits his head yet again, which turns him back into Yves. The concert naturally turns out to be a disaster since Yves was white and
rich--not exactly homeboy material. The other three rappers are stunned at Chilly's odd behavior. But before they can get him to stop singing, a riot ensues and they're all thrown in jail, including Sebastian (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), Yves's son. Later only Chilly and Sebastian are released from
The next day Chilly and Sebastian return to Yves's office. When they arrive, crooks from overseas, posing as designers, are waiting for Chilly, who previously had unwittingly stolen designer dresses with drugs hidden in them. Chilly and Sebastian end up fighting off the thugs, but not before
Chilly gets hit, turning him back into himself. The two wind up at a mud-wrestling club where they run into "The Funky Four." The rappers, still irate about their night in the clink, go after Chilly. As he's being chased, he falls off of a fence and turns into Yves again--no evening would be
complete for Chilly without at least one personality change.
Chilly eventually figures out that the bogus foreign designers are smuggling drugs in dresses. A few knocks on the head and a chase scene later, the criminals are nabbed in a sting operation. Chilly ends up as himself, only with Yves's memory, giving him the skill to design clothes.
The idea of a sudden or instantaneous personality change is a clever premise for a comedy, but unfortunately doesn't seem to work in IDENTITY CRISIS. Van Peebles has written a screenplay that concentrates more on chase scenes than character development. And the female characters, typically, are
the most undeveloped--depicted as either sexual objects or idiots, having no substance whatsoever.
IDENTITY CRISIS also suffers from an almost amateur look. Granted, no one can expect a low-budget feature to have the polish of a Hollywood studio movie, but in this film, the interiors don't even seem to match the exteriors. (Profanity, adult situations, nudity.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: Mario Van Peebles stars in IDENTITY CRISIS, a slow-moving and confusing comedy with very few laughs. Chilly D (Van Peebles) is a rapper and would-be clothing designer who's constantly fending off thugs and an unwanted personality transplant. It all start… (more)