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Head of State (2003)



Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 118
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 82

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


Average Rating: 4.7/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 21

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



liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 55,743

My Rating

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),



Chris Rock, Ali Leroi

Aug 12, 2003


DreamWorks SKG - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (135) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (82) | DVD (10)

A missed opportunity.

April 10, 2003
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's pretty much a toothless dog.

April 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... I liked this premise in movies like Dave, or the Eddie Murphy movie The Distinguished Gentleman, where the unknown or the underdog becomes the candidate or even the president, but this is so poorly done.

March 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a TV sitcom pilot, Head of State might have potential, but, on a multiplex screen, the execution (if not the premise) is thin.

March 29, 2003 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not the sharpest political humor I've ever heard, but it gets my vote for the stupidest fun I've had in a long time.

March 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though the comedy falls short of a debacle -- which is what such egocentric projects tend to be -- it isn't as sharp, fast or funny as Rock's stand-up routines.

March 28, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

April 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Chris Rock runs for president.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

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

March 31, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
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)

Chris Rock suffers from painful verbal constipation in this PG-13 clunker. Hollywood, make it NC-17 when Chris and Bernie run for re-election.

July 18, 2004

Although a reheated formula, Head of State dishes out a few original laughs due to in part to the writing of Chris Rock.

January 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

It may be an overly simplistic fantasy, but it's a funny one, and you won't find anything at the cineplex more relevant.

January 5, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

Rock serves as star, director, co-writer, and co-producer, so he can't point fingers at anyone else when the film loses its way.

January 4, 2004 Full Review

With the whole country watching him, Chris Rock has absolutely nothing of substance to say.

September 7, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

Yes, and...?

July 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Mark Reviews Movies
Mark Reviews Movies

Like so many of his other films, it's still not the movie that Chris Rock's fans know he's capable of making.

June 26, 2003 Full Review

Another mediocre comedy from Chris Rock.

June 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

. . .no one has talked about prosecuting Chris Rock for his torture of a captive movie audience with his new film Head of State.

June 4, 2003 Full Review Source:

Isn't this the same sort of pandering, middle-brow movie that Chris Rock used to say really means things about in his stand-up act?

May 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Snobs
Film Snobs

Rather than grab the political bull by the horns -- as did Warren Beatty's Bulworth a few years back or Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine a few months back -- Rock is content to merely make a comedy that, after a few trims of choice prof

April 16, 2003
Creative Loafing

Head of State isn't very good, but there are some funny spots

April 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

It's not political satire, and it's also, unfortunately, not very funny.

April 6, 2003 Full Review

[Rock] seems to think that expanding his critiques to feature-length form requires a cookie-cutter white southern governor as the enemy and lots of "bling bling" style as a positive counterpoint.

April 4, 2003 Full Review Source: Nitrate Online
Nitrate Online

A movie should be fun, this isn't.

April 3, 2003
Greenwich Village Gazette

Audience Reviews for Head of State

Foreshadowing. Most Chris Rock-lead movies are terrible, this one is his best.
February 24, 2010
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.
January 8, 2009

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.
September 19, 2006

Super Reviewer

I know what your thinking, Chris Rock in a bad movie?
March 23, 2006

Super Reviewer

    1. Mays Gilliam: FIRE!
    2. Falling Man: Aaaaaaaargh!
    – Submitted by Al C (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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