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a big , busy boxing satire with a surprisingly paltry punch , the great white hype stars samuel l . jackson as a shameless boxing promoter whose plan to boost sagging pay-per-view revenues is to " invent " a white contender ( peter berg ) to challenge his black heavyweight " champ " ( damon wayans ) .
( the logic is that people will pay more to see black vs . white than black vs . black . )
he may be right , in an absurdly accurate way , but the film doesn't give us a reason to care .
as a scathing sports spoof , hype is just that : unfunny , unfocused , and , at times , just plain pointless .
as a commentary on race relations , it's even * less * effective .
the dialogue is the best of this mess , lines like jon lovitz exclaiming " i cannot make caviar out of fish eggs ! "
writers tony hendra and ron shelton also do good on the street slang , though we never hear enough of it .
the script isn't strong enough , though , to support the aggressive camera work of director reginald hudlin ( house party ) .
he comes across as absolute overkill .
the great white hype * almost * turns around at the end , at the big match , when hudlin attempts an extended gag of rock-concert proportions .
with costumed dwarfs , gangsta rappers , and the " champ " dressed as death , only then do we get a glimpse of the spoof that should've been .
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