Bamboozled

2000, Drama/Comedy, 2h 15m

105 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Bamboozled is too heavy-handed in its satire and comes across as more messy and overwrought than biting. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A blistering satire of network television's pitfalls and prejudices, a humorous look at how race, ratings and the pursuit of power lead to a television writer's stunning rise and tragic downfall. Pierre Delacroix, a young, Harvard-educated man, who is the sole person of color, writing for an upstart network with floundering ratings. Despite several attempts, Delacroix has yet to see any of his concepts go into production.

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Critic Reviews for Bamboozled

Audience Reviews for Bamboozled

  • Mar 01, 2019
    Lee made a deliberately difficult movie here, it never moves in the directions you suspect and you have to adjust your perspective accordingly. This is something beyond satire and it deserves more serious examination.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2016
    Director Spike Lee attempts to show the dark history of blackface minstrel shows by showing it in a modern light. Damon Wayans portrays a black TV writer that changes his name and manner of acting to seem "more white." He thinks that if he proposes this modern blackface minstrel show it will bomb the TV network but instead the network and audience love it. There are plenty of old minstrel show relics and Spike Lee really shoves the history in your face in this one, trying to make "too much" of a point. An effective job by Jada Pinkett Smith in this film as Wayans's assistant, but the rest of the film is pretty flat.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2011
    For this feature, respected writer/director Spike Lee decided to make a satire concerns race in American culture, specifically television, and how racist imagery of the past still has an effect in the present day. The broad idea is a fine one, and this is a topic that should be addressed in a film. The major issue I have with this production is in its execution, and a lot of the choices Spike makes. The story concerns a well to do African American at a tv station who is fed up with his job, and decides to pitch a show idea so offensive, there's no way it will be accepted and air,, and he will be fired. It all backfires on him though, and the resulting fallout has a curious effect on him, the show's cast, other employees, and the viewing audience. The basic concept is nothugn really new, and the film owes a big debt to Network (which it makes great reference to). No, what bugs me is how the story is told. It is shot on video, giving it a documentary feel, which is okay, but it really makes everything look grainy and cheap, and the impact is lessened as a result. Also, to cause controversy, out Protagonist decides to have the program be a minstrel show set in a watermelon patch. I get the idea of satire, and purposely playing up buffonery, but come on, there's no way to incorrectly guess how something like this would be received. It's an out of touch and dated reference point, and sure, the film is probably eye opening for a number of people, but it seems like Lee misjudges how many people aren't already aware of the racial issues he brings up. Becuase it seems like he treats the viewers as totally ignorant, this is one of the most unsubtle, heavy handed, overbearing, and exhaustingly repetitive films out there. It's overlong, and the point gets hammered home really early on, so all the rest is just continual rehashing, and beating the message into people's heads with a sledgehammer. Yes, there are some really great points that are made, and there are some excellent sequences, but this is just way too overblown and tiresome. It's still a fascinating film, and will make you think, but this really needed to be written and edited a lot better. It does feature some really good performances however, even though Wayans and Rapaport do get a tad obnoxious at times. All in all, a noble effort, but a bit too flawed for me to really recommend. It does have a great set up though, so it's a shame that the execution isn't as strong or consistent.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2011
    At this point in Spike Lee's career, it's almost at a point where enough is enough. His heavy handed messages about racism are sometimes very well done and effective, but other times they are bland and as ridiculous as this. The only thing that's really interesting about this is the audience reaction to blackface, that's about it. Everything else presented in this has been done and done better. The really bad comical undertones to the movie only adds to its pointless nature because in the end it all just feels like a bad joke.
    Conner R Super Reviewer

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