Head of State (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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

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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.
Rating:
PG-13 (for language, some sexuality and drug references)
Genre:
Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

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
Robert Stanton
as Advisor
Jude Ciccolella
as Mr. Earl
Nate Dogg
as Himself
Ron Harris
as Himself
Angie Mattson
as Nate's Girl
Elizabeth Johnson
as Nate's Girl
Tony Head
as Brad Harper
Brian James
as B.G. James
Jeff Jarrett
as Himself
John Badila
as General Olson James
Ron Killings
as Himself
Ed Wheeler
as Mr. Hawkins
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 Guy
Pat Moran
as 1st Fundraiser Issue Woman
Tad Ohta
as Asian Man
Brad Strange
as French Man
Clarke Peters
as Fundraiser Demo-Tape Man
Delaney Williams
as Teamster No. 1
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 Party Goer
Norman Seltzer
as 1st Fundraiser Husband
Patsy Grady Abrams
as 1st Fundraiser Wife
Ashton Marks
as Bob Perilla's Big Hillbilly Bluegrass Band
Michael Munford
as Bob Perilla's Big Hillbilly Bluegrass Band
Michael Marceau
as Bob Perilla's Big Hillbilly Bluegrass Band
Akira Otsuka
as Bob Perilla's Big Hillbilly Bluegrass Band
Bob Perilla
as Bob Perilla's Big Hillbilly Bluegrass Band
Cornell D. Thomas
as Muhammad Muhammad Muhammad
Lee E. Cox
as Players Ball Pimp
Jeremy Borash
as Wrestling Announcer
Marcel Marceau
as Bob Perilla's Big Hillbilly Bluegrass Band
Michael Ahl
as Klansman
Annika Pergament
as Cable Anchorwoman
Gwendolyn Mulamba
as 2nd Fundraiser Issue Woman
Mike Hodge
as 2nd Fundraiser Issue Man
Gabrielle Goyette
as The Woman
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
Caitlin Ray
as Little Girl
Kate Guyton
as Foot Lady
Jim Scopeletis
as Pork Man
Billoah Greene
as Musician
Mojo Gentry
as Porter
Lucy Newman-Williams
as Train Station Reporter
James Tingle
as Talk Show Host
Ivan Scott
as Talk Show Host
Doris E. McMillon
as Talk Show Host
Sloane Brown
as Roadside Reporter
Steven Maurice
as Shorty G
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 Rider
James G. Pasierb
as Voter on Street
Ali Leroi
as Crazy Hostile Dreadlock Voter
Sade Baderinwa
as Transit Reporter
Camille J. Thomas
as Super Whore Drill Instructor
Jimmy Tingle
as Talk Show Host
Leeanna Saunders
as Old Woman Transit Rider
Kevin Reese
as Anchor
Stan Stovall
as Anchor
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 Announcer
Gammy L. Singer
as Miss Pearl
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News & Interviews for Head of State

Critic Reviews for Head of State

All Critics (118) | Top Critics (29)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | August 8, 2003
Denver Post
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

April 22, 2003
New York Daily News
Top Critic

A missed opportunity.

April 10, 2003
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

It's pretty much a toothless dog.

April 1, 2003
Village Voice
Top 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
Ebert & Roeper
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 29, 2003
ReelViews
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Head of State

This is a very funny satire of our political system and of black culture with the general premise being a black man is chosen to run for president by a white establishment that assumes he'll lose. Chris Rock plays Mays Gilliam, an alderman who finds himself running for President of The United States after the original presidential candidate dies in a plane crash two months before the election. Obviously, he is being set up to lose, but (of course) begins winning over the people and ultimately taking control of his fixed campaign with his street smart unorthodox methods. Bernie Mac plays Alderman's bail bondsman brother turned vice president running mate providing laughter with his rough and rumble ways. Robin Givens plays Gilliam's stalker ex-girlfriend.

Deb S
Deb S

Super Reviewer

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

Lenny Muggsy
Lenny Muggsy

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
Emily Armstrong

Super Reviewer

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