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Who's the Man? Reviews

WHO'S THE MAN is a cliched comedy about two bumbling cops who save Harlem from the hands of an evil real estate developer. The efforts of an energetic cast, including many popular rap stars, can't compensate for the movie's lackuster dialog and miserably inept plot. Rap performers Dr. Dre and Ed Lover (playing themselves) are the worst barbers in Harlem. When their kind-hearted boss, Nick (Jim Moody), orders them to take the entrance exam for the police force, Dre and Lover do their best to fail the test, but Nick's connections get them into the academy anyway. While the rookies make a mess of basic training, Nick's best friend, Lionel (Badja Djola), tries to talk him into selling his barber shop to Demetrius (Richard Bright), a developer with shady plans to build condos in the neighborhood. Nick refuses and even leads a demonstration against Demetrius. The developer threatens to ruin Lionel if he doesn't get the property from Nick. Soon after Dre and Lover become full-fledged cops, Nick is shot and his property blown up. The clownish cops devote their attention to solving the murder, but their investigation is fraught with difficulty. They incur the wrath of their superiors for, among other things, suggesting that Demetrius had Nick killed because the developer needed the property to set up an oil field in Harlem. Soon, they wind up suspended from the force. Dre and Lover carry on, however, eventually uncovering a shipment of guns imported by Demetrius. The developer promptly fingers Lionel, who confesses to having murdered Nick. Although they are offered jobs as detectives on the force, Dre and Lover opt to return to the barbershop. When Dre shoots a gun at a rat in the store, he misses, but strikes oil. Director Ted Demme (nephew of Jonathan Demme and producer of "Yo! MTV Raps") does his best to keep the action moving forward. But propulsive musical beats, mildly amusing street exchanges, and a multitude of rapper cameo appearences (Ice-T, Fab 5 Freddy, KRS-One, etc.) can't hide the flimsy construction of this vehicle. The limited comic talents of Lover and Dre don't help matters much. Fortunately, the supporting cast, particularly rap group Sargent, provide some genuinely entertaining moments. (Violence, profanity.)