Amazon-Video Comedy Central Showtime Apple TV+ DC Universe Disney Plus YouTube Premium HBO Max Peacock Netflix Vudu HBO Go Hulu Plus Amazon Prime CBS All Access Verizon

Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Death of a Dynasty Reviews

Roc-A-Fella Records cofounder Damon Dash's debut feature, made two years before STATE PROPERTY 2 (2005) but released subsequently, is a THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984)-inspired mockumentary-a-clef so clotted with in-jokes that it should come with a crib sheet. Layna Hudson (Rashida Jones), founder and editor of hot hip-hop magazine "The Mic," inexplicably assigns clueless staff writer David Katz (Evan Moss-Bachrach) to write an in-depth story about the inner workings of Roc-A-Fella records. David, who can't pick Roc-A-Fella CEO Dash (Capone) out of a crowd (or, for that matter, tell heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield from fellow pugilist Riddick Bowe), lamely embraces the role of investigative journalist, transforming himself into a ridiculous spectacle of a thug-speaking, doo-rag wearing, white gangsta wannabe. He cozies up to Dash and fellow Roc-A-Fella exec/rapper Jay-Z (Robert Stapleton), hoping to uncover evidence proving rumors that they're feuding. Meanwhile, sneaky gossipmeister Dick James (Charles Murphy) of the "Manhattan Globe" approaches David with a lucrative but unethical offer: If David will supply him with whatever inner-sanctum dirt he uncovers while on assignment for "The Mic," Dick will give him his own bylined column. Naive David jumps at the chance and soon gets the scoop of a lifetime while lurking around a Roc-A-Fella company party in the Hamptons: He spots Dash and Jay-Z squabbling over party girl Picasso (Devon Aoki). Could this mean the end of the Roc-A-Fella dynasty? Dash's satirical hip-hop Babylon is full of digs at vulgar rappers and hip-hop hangers-on, and abuzz with the kind of wink-wink, just joking... not banter that some people think is the height of hilarity. Sure, having bottles of Armadale vodka crammed into every other shot could be read as a pointed swipe at crass endorsements of luxury liquors. But when you know Armadale is owned by Roc-A-Fella, it looks a lot like crass product placement, along with all the shots of Rocawear glad rags and cameos by/name checks of Roc-A-Fella recording artists. Some credit is due to Dash for his willingness to allow (need we say Roc-A-Fella recording artist) Capone play "Damon Dash" as a blustering, unrepentant, prep-school jackass with pretensions to street cred. But it doesn't ameliorate the overall feeling that the film's a great big home-movie designed to make insiders feel smart and everyone else feel hopelessly uncool.