Provocative Spike Lee movie for older teens.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 135 minutes

What parents need to know


Some gun violence, characters shot.


Sexual references and situations.


Some strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Malt liquor, smoking, drug references.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has strong language and violence. Characters are shot and killed. There is some social drinking, and one character abuses alcohol. There are sexual references, and the movie makes some telling points about sexist assumptions about a woman's use of sex to advance her career.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

In BAMBOOZLED, uptight black television network exec Pierre Delacroix (Damon Wayans) has adjusted his ideas so severely that even he isn't sure what he thinks about the compromises he's made working in the white world. When his boss, Mr. Dunwitty (Michael Rapaport) tells him to develop a new show that will boost the station's ratings, Delacroix sets out to create a program so offensive that he will be fired. With the help of his dedicated assistant, Sloan (Jada Pinkett Smith), he creates a minstrel show performed by black people in blackface, set in a watermelon patch, with every possible stereotype from Topsy to Aunt Jemima to a native in a leopard skin loincloth. The show is a huge hit. All across America, white and black fans put on blackface and happily yell out, "I'm a nigger!" The show's stars, former street performers, are thrilled to be rich and famous, but increasingly haunted by their TV roles. Inspired to create their own TV show, a black militant group kidnaps the star of Delacroix's show, with tragic results.

Is it any good?


Spike Lee's movie is ambitious, provocative, complex, thoughtful, and just about review-proof. Anyone who doesn't like it could be accused of not getting it. Anyone who does like it could be accused of liking it for the wrong reasons and not getting it, either. This movie has some of the most striking images ever put on film. The minstrel show stars peer into mirrors to put on exaggerated red lips. A tear slips down a blackened cheek. Montages of minstrel images from old movies and racist toys and collectibles are devastating.

Lee's movie raises dozens of important questions about the roles that both blacks and whites play in perpetuating racist stereotypes. Lee suggests that the current UPN and WB sitcoms featuring black characters may be the modern-day equivalent of a minstrel show. The movie is uneven. Dialogue has never been Lee's strong point. But each scene has depth, integrity, intelligence -- and anger -- that is a welcome antidote to the usual formulaic Hollywood product. It is a profound and stimulating film that is designed to create debate and discussion, and certain to raise many different thoughts and emotions amongst viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this country's history of racism and the difficulty of bridging the gulf it has created.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 6, 2000
DVD release date:April 17, 2001
Cast:Damon Wayans, Jada Pinkett Smith, Paul Mooney
Director:Spike Lee
Studio:New Line
Run time:135 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong language and some violence

This review of Bamboozled was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass