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Marci X Reviews

Leave something on the shelf long enough and it'll either ripen like cheese or rot like garbage. Guess what: This ain't Camembert. Production on Richard Benjamin's lame and painfully dated comedy about a pampered Jewish princess who sets out to reform a XXX-rated rapper originally wrapped in the spring of 2001, but didn't make it into theaters until the dog days of August 2003. Whatever might have been funky or fresh about the humor now stinks to high heaven. There's trouble with a capital "T" when rap's notorious Dr. S (Damon Wayans) drops his latest opus, "Bad Medicine," on an eager record-buying public. The song titles alone — "Shoot the Teacher," "I Am the King of Your Mouth," "The Baby Ain't Mine 'Cause I Don't Like You" — are enough to give ultra-conservative Senator Mary Ellen Spinkle (Christine Baranski) apoplexy, and she immediately calls for a boycott of not just Dr. S and his label, Felony Assault, but FA's parent company, Felco. The brouhaha precipitates a corporate crisis and sends Felco founder, Ben Feld (Benjamin) into intensive care. Worried about her father's health and eager to prove that she's more than just a ditzy blonde socialite, Ben's daughter, Marci (Lisa Kudrow), has an idea: She'll simply ask Dr. S to clean up his act. Marci will first get the singer of "Power in My Pants" to appear with the squeaky-clean Christian boy-band Boyz R Us in a PSA advocating sexual abstinence, then publicly apologize for his music at the upcoming MTV Video Awards. As her posse of East-Side socialites (Jane Krakowski, Veanne Cox and Sheri Rene Scott) remind her, she's just the person for the job: Marci served as the guest editor of most of Conde Nast's fashion rags, and she simply adores black people. But what poor, white Marci doesn't realize is that hip-hop is all about keeping it real, and that messing with Dr. S also means messing with his girlfriend, Yolanda Quinones (Paula Graces), a jealous Jennifer Lopez-styled singer with serious career goals. Race, sex, the culture wars: It's actually a premise with a lot of potential — LEGALLY BLONDE did a lot more with a lot less — but Benjamin blows it at every turn. The humor trades in tired stereotypes of black men and Jewish women that are too played out to be offensive, much less funny. Rare flashes of wicked humor — and the charity auction for kids who've lost feeling in their arms is wicked — serve as a sad reminder that Paul Rudnick (IN & OUT) wrote the screenplay, and that Kudrow can deliver a line with panache, no matter how stale the joke.