Swiftian satires on popular taste can backfire badly, and Spike Lee's attempt at black consciousness-raising through the armature of Animal House movies almost dies of the contusion it is trying to lance. One glance at Julian (Esposito) leading the Gamma Phi Gamma fraternity, who crawl along barking in unison in gladiatorial togas, is enough to topple satire into farce. Half-Pint (Lee) finally passes his initiation test and loses his virginity in the frat Bone Room. The football coach (Davis) delivers a locker-room pep talk straight out of Sanctified Church, and the Dean is in bed with the college's white benefactress. The musical numbers are uniformly uninventive. Here and there the sociology is clear, but much of the film may seem incomprehensible to English audiences. On the evidence of She's Gotta Have It, Lee has a small, intimate talent; here he goes for the big podium and blows it.
Cast and crew
Samuel L Jackson