Marci X review by Mike Long

It's been a long-standing belief that January was the month when Hollywood studios dumped all of their bad movies into theaters. (This doesn't count those Oscar contenders which had limited openings in December and then went wide in January.) Now it seems that the first month of the year is becoming the dumping ground for home video as well, as we are treated to Marci X, yet another film which reportedly sat on the shelf before being unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

Lisa Kudrow stars in Marci X as the title character, Marci Feld, the daughter of corporate mogul, Ben Feld (Richard Benjamin). Marci is the quintessential spoiled rich girl, who devotes her time to "causes" but has never had a job. Just as Ben is about to receive a humanitarian award, the media breaks a story of a controversy surrounding Feldco. Felony Assault Records, a small entertainment subsidiary of Feldco has just released the latest album from controversial rapper Dr. S (Damon Wayans). The CD is being attacked by conservative senator Mary Ellen Spinkle (Christine Baranski), and her boycotts could ruin the Feld's finances. This news lands Ben in the hospital, so Marci decides to take matters into her own hands. She concludes that she will meet Dr. S and convince him to apologize for his actions. But, Marci is unprepared for Dr. S's smooth, street-wise ways, and their two worlds abruptly collide.

I don't even know where to start in describing this train-wreck of a movie, which makes Gigli look like a Best Picture contender. I guess I'll start with Damon Wayans character, Dr. S (I won't stoop to reveal what the "S" stands for). He is described as a dangerous gangsta rapper from the streets, but he dresses like MC Hammer, and his music is R&B ala R. Kelly. He has an effeminate voice that sounds a lot like Wayans "Men on Film" character from In Living Color. In short, he isn't bad or intimidating at all. The women all find him sexy, but I wasn't all that convinced that he was attracted to the ladies, if you know what I mean. Then, we have the story. There are going to be "hearings" initiated by the Senator which could ruin Feldco. What hearings? They release a dirty album and the world is going to end? Also, the relationship between Marci and Dr. S is so contrived and unbelievable that it condemns an already pointless film. And the scene where Lisa Kudrow raps...I can't bear to talk about it.

The real shame is that at some point in its early life, Marci X was probably a good movie, or at least a watchable movie. Damon Wayans is an immensely talented comedic actor, but he's wasted here as he's buried in the Dr. S role. Lisa Kudrow has proven in roles other than her Phoebe persona that she can be funny, but none of that shows through here. Director Richard Benjamin doesn't have a great resume (he did direct My Favorite Year though), but he has a long-standing career in comedy, but something went wrong here. The fact that Marci X reportedly sat un-released for some time hurts the film as the jokes concerning a Latina singer (named Y Lo) dating a rapper are very dated. And like many "lost" films, Marci X has been wittled down to 83 minutes, but it still feels like a lifetime.

Marci X sneaks onto DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The DVD contains both the widescreen and full-frame versions of the film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. Wouldn't you know it, the movie is rancid, but the transfer is great. The image is incredibly sharp and clear, showing no grain or overt defects. The colors look fantastic and there is no oversaturation of the hues. The image has a great deal of depth and the picture is always stable. The DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track sounds great as well. From the opening moments, it's clear that a great deal of work went into the stereo effects and the sound design. The surround sound effects are good and the dialogue is always clear. The bass response during the musical numbers is wall-shaking. There are no extras on the DVD, save for bonus trailers for other Paramount releases.

1 out of 10 Jackasses

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