Hollywood Shuffle (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hollywood Shuffle (1982)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This satirical look at the ambivalent relationship between Hollywood power brokers and African-American performers marked the writing, producing, and directing debut of Robert Townsend. The filmmaker also stars as Bobby Taylor, a struggling actor looking for his big break despite his family's and co-workers' reservations about his chosen career path. While working a day job flipping burgers, Bobby heads out to insulting cattle calls where white casting agents pass judgement on whether he seems "black enough." Meanwhile, he imagines himself playing Sam Spade, Rambo, and other movie heroes rather than the stereotypical roles actually available to him. When Bobby actually does win one such pimp-daddy part, however, he is forced to choose between accepting work that opens doors, but ultimately demeans him and returning to obscurity with his principles intact. Hollywood Shuffle's enormous supporting cast includes a wealth of black actors, from then-unknowns such as Damon Wayans to veterans such as 227 star Helen Martin. Self-financed and filmed on scraps of hand-me-down celluloid, the film helped establish actor Townsend as a director of note and also kick-started the career of co-screenwriter and co-star Keenen Ivory Wayans, who would cast Townsend in his own directorial debut the following year.

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Cast

Robert Townsend
as Speed, Bobby Taylor, Bobby Taylor / Jasper / Speed / Sam Ace / Rambro, Jasper, Sam Ace
Anne-Marie Johnson
as Stevie Taylor
Starletta DuPois
as Bobby's Mother
Helen Martin
as Bobby's Grandmother
Craigus R. Johnson
as Stevie, Bobby's Brother
Paul Mooney
as NAACP President
Lisa Mende
as Casting Director
Robert Ray Shafer
as Commercial Director
Robert Shafer
as Commercial Director
Keenen Ivory Wayans
as Donald/Jerry Curl
Marc Figueroa
as Sitcom Father
Sarah Katie Coughlin
as Sitcom Girl Friend
Brad Sanders
as Batty Boy
David McKnight
as Uncle Ray
Don Reed
as Maurice
Kim Wayans
as Customer in Chair
Sena Ayn Black
as Receptionist
Dom Irrera
as Writer
Roy Fegan
as Jesse Wilson
Tommy "Tiny" Lister
as (uncredited)
Jesse Aragon
as Audition Actor / Student #1 / Punk
Bobby Mardis
as Audition Actor / Basketball Player
Verda Bridges
as Audition Actor / Bessie / Hostage
Bobby McGee
as Audition Actor / Zombie Pimp / Eddie Murphy-Type
Rusty Cundieff
as Audition Actor / Slave #1 / Zombie Pimp / Eddie Murphy-Type
Richard 'Romeo' McGregor
as Audition Actor / Zombie Pimp
Carl Craig
as Audition Actor / Basketball Player
E.J. Murray Jr.
as Acotro in Audition
E.J. Murray
as Actor in Audition
Nancy Cheryll Davis
as Audition Actor / Hooker
Angela Teek
as Audition Actor / Harriet / Hooker
Tony Edwards
as Audition Actor / Eddie Murphy-Type
Grand L. Bush
as Mandingo / Ricky Taylor / Hood #5
Richard Cummings Jr.
as Slave #3 / Hood #1 / Theater Usher
Michael Smith
as Student #2/Zombie Pimp
Michael T. Smith
as Student #2 / Zombie Pimp
Michael Conn
as Teacher #2 / Police Detective #1
Jimmy Woodard
as Advance Student/Basketball
Jimmy Woodward
as Advanced Student / Basketball Player / Tyrone
Franklyn Ajaye
as Body Guard #1
Damon Wayans
as Body Guard #2 / Willie
Michael Colyar
as Body Guard #3
Donald Douglass
as Basketball Player/Eddie Murphy
Donald Douglas
as Basketball Player / Eddie Murphy Type
Jim Beaver
as Postal Worker
Kim Genelle
as Beautiful Girl #1
Wren T. Brown
as Picketer #2
Larry Cortinez
as Chauffeur / TV Commercial Crew
Shirley Ann Jenkins
as Cookie's Mother / Wardrobe
Jesse Kitten
as Hood #2
Lydia Nicole
as Make-Up Woman
Steve James
as Hood #3
Nancy Scher
as Client #1
Nick Stewart [Nicodemus]
as Cookie's Father
Le Tari
as Rudy
Greg Nave Hartwell
as Rehearsing Actor
Jake Blackschmidt
as Snake Killer
Howard Allen
as Agent #1
Steven Fertig
as Agent #2
Michael LaViolette
as Wardrobe Man
Beverly Brown
as Reporter
Tamra Naggar
as Reporter
Peter Krug
as Reporter
Brad Laven
as Reporter
Myra J.
as Picketer #1
Kathleen Clark
as Award Presenter
Tammy Kaitz
as Model with Award
Lydia Nichole
as Make-Up Woman
Mark Westover
as 1st A. D.
Nancy Schier
as Client #1
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News & Interviews for Hollywood Shuffle

Critic Reviews for Hollywood Shuffle

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6)

Brimming with imagination and energy, Hollywood Shuffle is the kind of shoestring effort more appealing in theory than execution.

March 18, 2008 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Improv talent Robert Townsend is pretty much the whole show.

March 18, 2008 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Despite the film's conspicuously minuscule budget and shaky narrative structure, it is funny. If you value enthusiasm and imagination more than glossy sophistication, you'll laugh.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Townsend has taken aim at the industry's funny bone and struck a solid blow.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
New York Times
Top Critic

Under the circumstances, Hollywood Shuffle is an artistic compromise but a logistical triumph, announcing the arrival of a new talent whose next movie should really be something.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

For a mere $100,000, Townsend and company have made a funny, poignant and technically proficient film -- one that should thoroughly embarrass those studios that routinely offer up badly made, multimillion-dollar disasters.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Hollywood Shuffle

The best comedy about racial stereotyping I've ever seen! If the subject of Black actors in Hollywood interests you, I highly recommend this movie. If not I still recommend this movie, it's hilarious!

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Parts of this film are soda through your nose funny.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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