The Great White Hype

Film, Comedy

Time Out says

When it comes to heavyweight boxing: never bet on the white guy. But what if America got bored with blacks beating each other up? A flamboyant promoter, the Reverend Fred Sultan (Jackson), decides the sport needs a Great White Hope to bring back the big bucks. In the absence of any qualified contenders, he settles on retired amateur pugilist Terry Conklin (Berg), the peace-loving lead singer of Massive Head Wound, and the only man ever to floor the champ. Despite some promising credentials - notably a script by Ron Shelton (Bull Durham) and Tony Hendra (Spinal Tap) - this lackadaisical comedy stings like a butterfly and floats like a bee. Still, Jackson supplies an engaging gloss on Don King, and the script takes a refreshingly irreverent approach to media pieties ('Do you covet racism?' demands the politically correct Conklin of his bemused new manager). Indeed, the film's clued-in on most fronts. It doesn't insult the intelligence, lands a sucker punch or two, but fails to deliver a knockout combination. A contender, then, but only a flyweight.


Release details

91 mins

Cast and crew

Reginald Hudlin
Ron Shelton, Tony Hendra
Samuel L Jackson
Peter Berg
Jeff Goldblum
Jon Lovitz
Damon Wayans
Corbin Bernsen
Cheech Marin
Salli Richardson
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