Head of State (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Head of State (2003)



Critic Consensus: Head of State squanders its potentially ripe premise with watered-down satire and formulaic gags.

Movie Info

Can a high-attitude African-American politician who says what he thinks stand a chance in a presidential campaign? Mays Gilliam (Chris Rock) is a straight-talking alderman representing a inner-city neighborhood in Washington, D.C. In the midst of a hard-fought race for the White House, the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential candidates are killed in an airline crash, and with little time to prepare a new campaign, the Republican candidate, Vice President Brian Lewis (Nick Searcy), seems all but guaranteed to win. With practically nothing to loose, party head Martin Geller (Dylan Baker) approaches Gilliam and asks him to stand as the Democrat's presidential candidate. While Gilliam is dubious at first, before long his streetwise style and willingness to face the issues head-on earns him surprising figures in the polls, especially after he persuades his short-fused older brother, Mitch Gilliam (Bernie Mac), to join the ticket as vice presidential candidate -- a big jump for a bail bondsman. Gilliam's love life also becomes more complicated as his ex-girlfriend Kim (Robin Givens) decides she wants him back now that he has a shot at the White House, even though Gilliam only has eyes for Lisa (Tamala Jones). Head of State marked the directorial debut for comic and actor Chris Rock, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film.more
Rating: PG-13 (for language, some sexuality and drug references)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Ali Leroi, Chris Rock
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 12, 2003
Box Office: $37.8M
DreamWorks SKG - Official Site


Chris Rock
as Mays Gilliam
Bernie Mac
as Mitch Gilliam
Dylan Baker
as Martin Geller
Nick Searcy
as Brian Lewis
Lynn Whitfield
as Debra Lassiter
Tamala Jones
as Lisa Clark
James Rebhorn
as Senator Bill Arnot
Keith David
as Bernard Cooper
Tracy Morgan
as Meat Man
Nate Dogg
as Himself
Angie Mattson
as Nate's Girl
Ron Harris
as Himself
Tony Head
as Brad Harper
Elizabeth Johnson
as Nate's Girl
Brian James
as B.G. James
John Badila
as General Olson James
Jeff Jarrett
as Himself
Ed Wheeler
as Mr. Hawkins
Ron Killings
as Himself
Gammy Singer
as Miss Pearl
Ned Eisenberg
as Mike Blake
Reg E. Cathey
as Officer Waters
Brad Marshall
as Demolition Man
Mario Joyner
as Lotto Man
Don Neal
as Senator
Beau James
as Senator
Doug Roberts
as Senator
Charles Able
as Charlie
Raymond Clark
as Mays Decoy
Mark Zeisler
as 1st Fundraiser Issue...
Pat Moran
as 1st Fundraiser Issue...
Tad Ohta
as Asian Man
Brad Strange
as French Man
Clarke Peters
as Fundraiser Demo-Tape...
Delaney Williams
as Teamster No. 1
David de Boy
as Police Chief
Wes Johnson
as Teamster No. 2
Madeline DeVan
as Singing Lady
Deborah S. Smith
as Singing Lady
Victoria Chapman
as Singing Lady
John Hall
as Hip Hop Dancer
Robin L. Hall
as Hip Hop Dancer
Barbara Suto
as Hip Hop Dancer
Thomas Bevans
as Hip Hop Dancer
Helaine Fonda
as Hip Hop Dancer
Sharon Savoy
as Hip Hop Dancer
David Savoy
as Hip Hop Dancer
Terry Chasteen
as Hip Hop Dancer
Robert J. Norman
as Hip Hop Dancer
Ann Haynsworth
as Hip Hop Dancer
James R. Bergdahl
as Hip Hop Dancer
Linda Kenyon
as Screaming Woman
Alan Chadsey
as Falling Man
Irving Jacobs
as 1st Fundraising Part...
Norman Seltzer
as 1st Fundraiser Husba...
Patsy Grady Abrams
as 1st Fundraiser Wife
Ashton Marks
as Bob Perilla's Big Hi...
Michael Munford
as Bob Perilla's Big Hi...
Michael Marceau
as Bob Perilla's Big Hi...
Akira Otsuka
as Bob Perilla's Big Hi...
Bob Perilla
as Bob Perilla's Big Hi...
Cornell D. Thomas
as Muhammad Muhammad Mu...
Lee E. Cox
as Players Ball Pimp
Jeremy Borash
as Wrestling Announcer
Marcel Marceau
as Bob Perilla's Big Hi...
Michael Ahl
as Klansman
Annika Pergament
as Cable Anchorwoman
Gwendolyn Mulamba
as 2nd Fundraiser Issue...
Mike Hodge
as 2nd Fundraiser Issue...
Gustave Johnson
as Chester Allen
Kevin Witt
as Secret Service Agent
Brenna McDonough
as School Reporter
Donald Neal
as Senator
Cory Rosemeier
as Helicopter Pilot
David DeBoy
as Police Chief
Lucy Newman Williams
as Train Station Report...
Caitlin Ray
as Little Girl
Kate Guyton
as Foot Lady
Lucy Newman-Williams
as Train Station Report...
James Tingle
as Talk Show Host
Ivan Scott
as Talk Show Host
Doris E. McMillon
as Talk Show Host
Sloane Brown
as Roadside Reporter
Lois Kelso Hunt
as Lewis' Mother
Novella Nelson
as Moderator
Nancy Ding
as Voter on Street
John F. Degen
as Voter on Street
H. Reneé
as Voter on Street
Leanne Saunders
as Old Woman Transit Ri...
James G. Pasierb
as Voter on Street
Ali Leroi
as Crazy Hostile Dreadl...
Sade Baderinwa
as Transit Reporter
Camille J. Thomas
as Super Whore Drill In...
Jimmy Tingle
as Talk Show Host
Leeanna Saunders
as Old Woman Transit Ri...
Peter Puglisi
as California Screamer
Marilyn Getas
as National Anchor
R. Bruce Elliott
as National Anchor
Tony Harris
as Local Anchor
Jennifer Gilbert
as Local Anchor
Donna Hamilton
as Regional Anchor
Funkmaster Flex
as Inaugural Ball Annou...
Gammy L. Singer
as Miss Pearl
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Head of State

Critic Reviews for Head of State

All Critics (135) | Top Critics (34)

A missed opportunity.

April 10, 2003
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

It's pretty much a toothless dog.

Full Review… | April 1, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

Rock is a man who continues to perpetuate stereotypes for the price of "comedy" and continues making one terrible film after the other.

Full Review… | April 1, 2014
Cinema Crazed

Chris Rock runs for president.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

'...Along comes Chris Rock with "Head of State", a mild comedy...'

Full Review… | March 31, 2005
Film Threat

Not merely satisfied with stereotyping whites, Rock insists on taking shots at blacks, fat people, poor people and even spina bifida patients.

September 20, 2004
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

Audience Reviews for Head of State

Foreshadowing. Most Chris Rock-lead movies are terrible, this one is his best.

Lenny Muggsy

Super Reviewer

Five years ago this movie might sound ridiculous and unreal maybe unreal. But now if you watch it it could be a glimpse to the future with a very funny and ironic view. The movie have some really funny moments. It is directed by Chris Rock and from the beginning we can see his typical kind of humor with a lot of social criticism and political satire. The cast is good. Chris Rock is great and Bernie Mac hilarious, together they make an excellent couple of comedians. Robin Givens, James Redhorn and Lynn Whitfield complete the cast and add a very good support to the movie.

Jose Zamudio

Super Reviewer

I'm so glad the studios ended up trusting Chris Rock to direct a movie. Man, he should run for President. Although he crosses the surrealism line a little too often for my tastes, this movie was a hilarious indictment of phoniness in American politicians. I have a little souvenir "Crib Malt Liquor" bottle in my room.

Emily Armstrong

Super Reviewer

Head of State Quotes

– Submitted by Al C (3 years ago)

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