In ‘‘Malibu’s Most Wanted,’’ comedian Jamie Kennedy parodies every privileged white kid who ever affected the telltale limp and streetwise speech of an original gangsta.
Kennedy plays Brad "B-Rad" Gluckman, an aspiring rapper whose hiphop exploits threaten to derail his father’s campaign for governor. Desperate, the old man (Ryan O’Neal) hires a pair of classically trained actors (Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson) to impersonate thugs, kidnap Brad and cure him of his hiphop affliction.
Pigmentally challenged hip -hop impresario Joe ‘‘Soulman’’ Valiente, frontman for the Tempe-based Phunk Junkeez, shares BRad’s pain.
Tribune: This character, BRad, only wants people to take him seriously. He’s not fronting, he’s not posing. Hip-hop is who he is. Have you experienced the same skepticism?
Soulman: You know what, man? This movie was very inspiring to white rappers. A lot of us out there have the same plight — people trying to keep us down. Look at my life. I learned everything I know from (Black Entertainment Television). I’m real. But my dad used to tell me stuff like be a wrestler, or a football player, not a break dancer.
Tribune: Ah, playa, that’s whack.
Soulman: Right. So I used to practice scratching on his records. Mmm. Johnny Mathis sounds good that way. The Beatles. You know it.
Tribune: I’ve avoided watching Jamie Kennedy’s TV show, mainly because his movie roles never hinted at any comedic talent. But I was surprised how funny this movie turned out to be.
Soulman: It was really funny. And it’s true — if you’ve ever been in hip-hop culture, when that white boy walks in the club, everybody checks you out.
Tribune: You’ve been that white boy?
Soulman: Oh, yes. Many a time. The music stops. All eyes are on you. Luckily I could dance. You have to get past that ‘‘Showtime at the Apollo’’ thing. Win the people over.
Tribune: We’ve seen a lot of movies recently involving white people trying to embrace hip-hop: ‘‘Head of State,’’ ‘‘Bringing Down the House.’’ This gag works better here. It’s cleverly written. I love that line: ‘‘It’s hardcore up here in the ’Bu, yo.’’
Soulman: It was funny on two levels. The white guy acting black, and the black guys acting white.
Tribune: I’m glad you brought that up. Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson have some great scenes here, as these guys who are just as clueless about life in the ghetto as Kennedy is.
Soulman: Have you ever seen a movie called ‘‘White Boys’’? It’s about these guys in Cleveland who are so immersed in hip-hop, they actually think they’re black. But it’s a serious story.
Tribune: I don’t know if the topic deserves seriousness. Soulman: No, but it’s almost as funny. I was watching "TRL" the other day, and it occurred to me that hip-hop is almost beyond race now. It just is. It’s the social reality we grew up in.
Tribune: Yessum. It’s been co-opted. What would you give ‘‘Malibu’s Most Wanted,’’ out of four stars?
Soulman: I’d give it two and a half. It was really funny, more of a satire, takeoff kind of thing. It was way better than ‘‘Bulworth.’’ When Warren Beatty started rapping, I just had to leave.
Tribune: You have a point. I also gave it two and a half. Kennedy genuinely does a great caricature here: The rich Caucasian kid with the false sense of hardship. White people co-opting black culture is nothing new. . . .
Tribune: Right. And this was a smart, good-natured way of poking fun at that.
Soulman: Color lines aren’t as vivid as they used to be. Hip -hop is much more accepting to white people than it was even 10 years ago.