Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Fresh Prince Goes Gangster.

Flipping through my channels last night I stopped at one of my all time favorite movies. Not only was I ecstatic to catch Bad Boys 2 on TV but I turned it on just as my favorite scene was about to start. In this scene, Reggie, a 15 year old kid is coming to pick up Marcus' daughter for a date. Marcus, a police officer, and his partner Mike (Will Smith) decide to have some fun with Reggie.

Now I've seen this movie a hundred times and watched this scene over and over. I've never seen it like this though. Through the eyes of a sociologist, this is a very intriguing scene. Mike, who throughout the rest of the film was well spoken and charming, begins playing a character he invented on the spot, who was recently released from prison. He attempts to intimidate Reggie with a deeper voice, and slang speech of a "thug" and uses increased profanity and the word "nigga" excessively. He also drinks from a bottle on cognac and casually swings around a pistol.

While a successful vehicle for a humorous scene, one must wonder how these stereotypes Mike is exploiting for comedy come across to a younger generation. Does this tell youth that in order to gain respect and be intimidating you must go to prison and carry a weapon?

In the scene, Mike and Marcus' change of language is accidentally a commentary on what is expected if you want to be a movie star, and what is expected if you want to make it in the streets. It's so funny to the viewer, because its so unexpected in a Hollywood movie. Very rarely would a producer be so cavalier to let such language that would be "offensive" to the masses into a blockbuster.

The message most would get from this scene is that Reggie should be scared, because Mike is a gangster. But is that the message we want to give to America's youth, particularly America's black youth that may look up to Will Smith as a role model? The stigma that black people are scary and "gangster" is already a stereotype that too many buy into. While this scene is hilarious, I'd say it definitely toes the line of good taste.

Besides, I'd be more nervous if I was picking up a date and a cop answered the door.

         -Eric Lucier

1 comment:

  1. "Chity Chity Bang Bang" (laughing). Bad Boys 2 is one of my favorites. An action movie that is full of jokes. What’s not to love? Now that you mentioned it the scene seems to be different to me also. Studying sociology opens your eyes to many new things; well it is the study of human behavior. The thug imitation you said that mike is pursing can be looked at by other as a bad visual for kids. Being a character that is feared and respected. Your absolutely right stereotype is already a thing that takes place in the world and this scene is no way to make it better even though it makes some laugh.