A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has very strong material for a PG-13 -- as usual, the MPAA is much more lax with a comedy than they would be if the same material appeared in a drama. The movie has sexual references and situations, smoking, drinking, and drug humor, and comic violence.
What's the story?
Comedian Eddie Griffin plays Undercover Brother, a guy with the tallest Afro, the highest platform shoes, and the coolest attitude on earth. He drives a gold-colored Cadillac with an 8-track tape player and a license plate that says, "Solid." Undercover Brother works on his own to fight injustice, but he is not aware of the seriousness of the threat. It seems that a mysterious bad guy known only as "The Man," operating out of a remote island command center. He is responsible for discrediting black figures. A popular black general (Billy Dee Williams) is about to declare his candidacy for President. The Man is furious at the prospect of a possible black President so he directs his henchman (Chris Kattan) to stop him. An organization called "The Brotherhood" asks Undercover Brother to join them in fighting The Man. With their top agent, Soul Sistah (Anjnue Ellis), Undercover Brother infiltrates The Man's world, in wild disguises. But the Man fights back with "black man's Kryptonite" in the form of Denise Richards. For a moment, it seems that Undercover Brother will even eat tuna with extra mayonnaise. But Soul Sista comes to his rescue, and they are soon off for the final confrontation.
Is it any good?
The movie is filled with such high spirits and good humor that the jokes are pointed but not barbed. UNDERCOVER BROTHER combines broad comedy with clever satire to happily skewer blacks, whites, men, women, the "blaxploitation" movies of the 1970's, O.J. Simpson, and just about everything else that comes within range.
Director Malcolm Lee (a cousin of Spike Lee) has a marvelous eye for telling details (the re-creation of a 1970's-style credit sequence is hilarious), and Eddie Griffin gives the title character some heart along with a lot of attitude.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the stereotypes that the movie uses for humor and to make its points. How can some issues be addressed more effectively through comedy than through drama? Parents might find that they have to explain some of the humor to teenagers who are too young to remember some of the outfits and expressions made fun of in the movie.
- In theaters: May 31, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: January 14, 2003
- Cast: Chris Kattan, Denise Richards, Eddie Griffin
- Director: Malcolm D. Lee
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual humor, drug use, and violence
- Last updated: February 27, 2020
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch