Murphy's comic brilliance is at the service of the story and he positively shines with a number of diverse and zany impersonations, most enjoyably a Jesse Jackson takeoff. While the result is inevitably middle of the road, it still manages to be the funniest picture Murphy has made in quite some time. Murphy shows an easy versatility, going for guffaws one minute and pulling off a grinner the next. The film is content to remain at the level of the mildly entertaining, with no real surprises and not much sass. It has a few good laughs in it thanks to Murphy, but mainly depends for its appeal on an uncomfortable manipulation of racial stereotypes. Eddie Murphy does his patented routines effectively, and the dialogue has some pungent moments, but the movie doesn't succeed as the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" update it would like to be. The Distinguished Gentleman prefers to give us measured laughs at a leisurely pace, and then it settles for the sellout upbeat ending. Ho hum. Uneven but occasionally quite funny political satire.
VERDICT: "In The Zone" - [Mixed Reaction] These kinds of movies are usually movies that had some good things, but some bad things kept it from being amazing. This rating says buy an ex-rental or a cheap price of the DVD to own. If you consider cinema, ask for people's opinion on the film. (Films that are rated 2.5 or 3 stars)