Rock on Top
Head of State
Review by Ross Anthony

After his last few past films, I expect the worst from Chris Rock. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Starting out a little like "Dave," Chris plays Alderman Mays Gilliam -- the champion of the everyday Joe. Then, through some silly mishaps, he finds himself running for president. Of course, he takes the race more seriously than was expected by those who puppetted him up. And while the film takes its fair share of stabs at some serious topics, the main goal is a barrel full of laughs. And for the most part, the film delivers.

Rock, still not quite matching that raging energy of his stand up work, is average and above. As director, he keeps the film hoppin', punching along at a strong pace. Then, as soon as Bernie Mac pops his head into the picture, the belly laughs start to roll. That man is just plain funny!

Quite a lot of swearing, I didn't mind that, just surprised the film is still rated PG-13. Some sound problems (loss of high end) early on, cleared up later.

Note: The role of Mitch Gilliam was written for Bernie Mac, but... it was created with Mac's real brother -- also named Mitch -- in mind. Mac says, "I used to have a routine about my brother and they wrote my brother into the character. It was very inspirational to me because everything Mitch Gilliam is I've already lived with, eaten with ... I really relished playing Mays' big brother because the relationship was so close to me and my brother."

  • Head of State. Copyright © 2003. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Chris Rock, Bernie Mac, Dylan Baker, Nick Searcy, Lynn Whitfield, Robin Givens, Tamala Jones, James Rebhorn, Keith David, Tracy Morgan.
  • Directed by Chris Rock.
  • Screenplay by Chris Rock & Ali LeRoi.
  • Produced by Ali LeRoi, Chris Rock, Michael Rotenberg at DreamWorks.

Grade..........................B+ (Strong)

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:08:49 PDT