March 2002
All About The Benjamins

Reviewed by Clem Turner

All About The Benjamins

Producers:Douglass Curtis and Cube Vision Productions
Cast:Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Tommy Flanagan, Carmen Chaplin, Eva Mendes, Valarie Rae Miller and Roger Guenveur Smith
Written by:Ice Cube and Ronald Lang
Directed by:Kevin Bray

For those not in the know, “Benjamins” refer to $100 bills engraved with a portrait of Benjamin Franklin, and everyone is chasing the Benjamins in this latest pairing of Ice Cube and Mike Epps. Reminiscent of their earlier work as Craig and Day-Day in New Line Cinema’s “Next Friday,” their newest buddy movie “All about the Benjamins” delivers decent action and more than a few laughs.

Bucum Jackson (Cube) is a rough and cocky bounty hunter, with an unorthodox style that does not sit well with his boss or Miami’s local police. On assignment to round up Reggie Wright (Epps), a slippery, small-time con man, Bucum encounters more than he expected. The two men stumble into a diamond heist orchestrated by a ring of professional criminals including Ursula (Carmen Chaplin), Ramose (Roger Guenveur Smith) and headed by mastermind Robert Williamson (Tommy Flanagen). Bucum and Reggie decide to team up and find themselves in a race with the diamond thieves searching for the Benjamins!

Ice Cube and Mike Epps utilize their unique chemistry in building on their characters from "Next Friday." While newcomers Valarie Rae Miller (Pam) and Eva Mendes (Gina) are delightful as the female counterparts to Cube and Epps, the rest of the ensemble cast is a little flat. This is hardly their fault considering the movie's plot. However, veteran actor Roger Guenveur Smith is credible and manages to make the drama more acceptable.

While the film does have humor and a few surprises, it's hard not to desire the extremely funny lines from the Friday series. The entertaining aspects of this film are not the plot, but the antics of Mike Epps and the chemistry the main characters bring to the screen. As in "Next Friday," you are less concerned with going from point A to point B, than enjoying the antics and humor along the way. No Oscar nominations are in order, but if you want to laugh and be entertained, grab some "Benjamins" and run to your local movie house today.


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