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Marci X


Genre: Ethnic mismatch comedy

Opens: Now playing

The Pitch: It's yente meets gangsta when Jewish American Princess Marci Feld (Lisa Kudrow) tries to rein in raunchy rapper Dr. S (Damon Wayans), who records on a controversial label that her mogul father (Richard Benjamin, who directed) didn't know he owned.

Product placement: When Dr. S challenges Marci to rap at one of his concerts, she rhymes about shopping and designer labels, from Chanel to Perry Ellis, in "Power in My Purse."

Money shots: Bottle-rockets fire from Dr. S's fly for his number "Power in My Pants." Marci and her debutante posse do a faux-African dance to "celebrate diversity" at a black nightclub. Pro-censorship Sen. Spinkle (Christine Baranski) privately cuts loose to a Dr. S song. Marci raps the title song for the closing credits, but like the rest of the musical numbers, it crosses the line from satirical to embarrassing.

Fashion statements: Marci compares her white fur coat to Dr. S's Siberian chinchilla. When Marci starts dating Dr. S, she wears an oversized head wrap a la Erykah Badu to the MTV Awards. Boy band "Boyz R Us" sports pastel preppie gear. Dr. S dons absurd, garishly-colored suits and glitzy costumes -- MC Hammer was more a gangsta rapper than this guy.

Flesh factor: Dr. S performances feature gyrating fly girls and well-oiled go-go boys. Jealous, J.Lo-esque singer Yolanda (Paula Garces) dons revealing clubwear. Dr. S's riff "In the Butt" features back-up dancers with bull's-eyes on their buttocks -- and is the only song that even comes close to being offensive, making the angry protests seem pointless.

Best line: Marci's friends bemoan the urban plague of heroin addiction, until one asks, "But does the weight stay off?" The occasional snappy one-liners of scripter Paul Rudnick only make the film more painful -- it didn't have to suck.

Inside Joke: Screenwriter Paul Rudnick (In & Out) writes a column for Premiere magazine under the pen name Libby Gelman-Waxner, who's like an older version of Marci. Kudrow plays Marci as a richer version of her "Friends" ditz.

Burning question: With Kudrow and Wayans in their 40s and Benjamin in his 60s, aren't they all a little old for a project about debs and rap stars?

The Bottom Line: Marci X tries to be Lisa Kudrow's Legally Blonde in literally the worst way -- Elle Woods should sue the film with her Harvard law degree. With no insight into hip-hop music, the politics of censorship, interracial dating or even credible plotting, Marci X never comes close to keeping it real.

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