Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Tupac Shakur Facebook Page Posts Cryptic Message on Upcoming "Special Announcement." Biopic News? Tupac Shakur Facebook Page Posts Cryptic Message on Upcoming "Special Announcement." Biopic News? Weekend B.O. Aug 21-23 (F. Gary Gray Becomes a Prominent Member of the $100 Million Black Directors Club) Weekend B.O. Aug 21-23 (F. Gary Gray Becomes a Prominent Member of the $100 Million Black Directors Club) Dr. Dre Issues Public Statement Apologizing for "The Women I’ve Hurt" Dr. Dre Issues Public Statement Apologizing for "The Women I’ve Hurt" Timely Brit Documentary 'The Hard Stop' Explores Life & Death of Mark Duggan + Riots That Followed (Trailer) Timely Brit Documentary 'The Hard Stop' Explores Life & Death of Mark Duggan + Riots That Followed (Trailer) Say Hello to Marvel's Newest Superhero - Moon Girl Say Hello to Marvel's Newest Superhero - Moon Girl Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey' AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey'

Sundance 2013 Review: 'Milkshake'

Shadow and Act By Zeba Blay | Shadow and Act January 26, 2013 at 7:25PM

Sundance 2013 Review: 'Milkshake'
5

Milkshake
For decades upon decades, there has been the fascinating phenomenon of white people who “want to be black.” Only, of course, they don’t actually want to be black. They want the apparent cool factor that comes with blackness - the clothes, the music, the rhythm, the permission to use the N-word - without that annoying inconvenience of institutionalized racism.

Directors David Andalman and Mariko Munro tackle this idea in Milkshake

, their comedy set in a 1990s suburb of Washington, DC, where white teen Jolie Johnson (Tyler Ross) desperately wants to be a brother.

Jolie, you see, is about that “thug life,” which for him constitutes using black slang, listening to Tupac, wearing baggy jeans, trying to get on his school’s basketball team, and sleeping with a black girl named Henrietta (Shareeka Epps) while her adopted white father thinks the two are merely studying in her bedroom. He’s deeply misguided, of course, at one point revealing in the narration that threads throughout the piece that he wishes more people would appreciate his great-great grandfather Al Jolson. The minstrel performer. To Jolie, his work was simply a “tribute” to African-American performers.

Ross’s wide-eyed naivety makes him likable enough as we watch him finally make the Varsity basketball team and become friends with his all-black teammates (“I was practically black,” he declares), but his general cluelessness is only funny for so long. There’s something slightly off putting about humor that’s derived mainly from watching white people supposedly “act black,” or “talk black” - it’s a punchline that get’s especially old when it has nothing more substantial to anchor it. In this case, that insubstantiality comes from an ultimately hollow third act.

Miraculously and with very little lead-up Jolie suddenly realizes that stereotypes are bad, that the black experience is not in fact an “epic Tupac verse” but something complex and varied, as the entire human experience is. How he comes to that final, seemingly profound conclusion feels rushed and slightly insincere, as moments where he actually confronts race head-on are few and always very brief, barely scratching the surface of his ignorance.

Milkshake  does have its charm, but that’s mostly dependant on ‘90s nostalgia, a great soundtrack, and an endearing performance by its lead actor. Ultimately, though, it leaves the viewer wishing there had been a bit more substance between the laughs.

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival


Shadow & ActNewsletter