Black and White (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Black and White2002

Black and White (2002)



Critic Consensus: The atmosphere is affecting, and the story, at times, is compelling, but with a lean script and limp direction, Black and White doesn't add up to much.

Black and White Photos

Movie Info

The inner workings of the New York hip-hop scene, and the fascination of white observers with rap music and hip-hop culture, set the stage for this drama written and directed by James Toback. Rich Bower (Power) is a mover and shaker in the world of rap music (he's involved with a number of other licit and illicit business ventures as well), and his apartment is a favored meeting place for musicians, hangers-on, and hipsters who want to seem cool, including a clique of white kids who want to be on the inside of whey they consider the coolest scene of the day. Sam (Brooke Shields), a filmmaker, is making a documentary about Rich and his circle, with the help of her husband Terry (Robert Downey Jr.), a closeted homosexual who doesn't feel at home in this milieu. Dean (Allan Houston) is a talented college basketball player and Rich's friend since childhood who is offered a deal by a bookmaker, Mark (Ben Stiller) to throw a few games for a price. Dean takes the money against his better judgment, and he soon realizes how much of a mistake he made when Mark turns out to be a cop hoping to dig up dirt on Rich. Rich in turn discovers that Dean might be forced to tell what he knows to stay out of jail, and he decides that Dean has to be killed; however, rather than murder his friend himself, Rich asks one of the white kids who hangs out with him, who seems especially eager to prove himself, to do it for him. The kid, however, is actually the son of the District Attorney. Also contributing to Black and White's supporting cast are controversial boxing legend Mike Tyson, musician Bijou Phillips, Wu Tang Clan rapper Raekwon, model Claudia Schiffer, and Donald Trump's former spouse Marla Maples.

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Brooke Shields
as Sam Donager
Allan Houston
as Dean Carter
Ben Stiller
as Mark Clear
Scott Caan
as Scotty
Joe Pantoliano
as Bill King
as Cigar
as Rich Bower
Stacy Edwards
as Sheila King
Mike Tyson
as himself
James Toback
as Arnie Tishman
Method Man
as Himself
George Wayne
as Himself
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Critic Reviews for Black and White

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (30)

As lively and amusing as the film is in some ways, it does set up expectations at the outset that are never really delivered upon.

June 17, 2008

It looks like a mess -- if one stuffed with incident, issues and intrigue.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

While Toback certainly makes a game effort to study the infiltration of hip-hop into the mainstream, his inability to choose what ground to cover ultimately results in an episodic hotch-potch.

January 13, 2004 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It doesn't try to spell out all aspects of the issue or arrive at any particular point. Toback presents specific characters dealing with specific problems and, through their stories, somehow manages to take the temperature of the times.

June 18, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

This lively mess proves that when Toback loses his head, he does it with style.

May 10, 2001 | Rating: 3/5

A study in multiculturalism, Toback's film is something of a melting-pot itself: mixed-up, messy and teeming with vitality.

April 17, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Black and White

I'm sure I'd reviewed this film on Flixster but apparently not. Anyway, Black & White is a pretty unmemorable comment on race and culture, but there is good improvising from a typically excellent Robert Downey Jr.

Director James Toback is here evidentially trying to do a "Robert Altman" by splicing interweaving story lines, but to be honest the whole thing is pretty messy and actually quite contrived.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer


Just a fine drama like documentary tale of race, class, and sexual boundaries blur in this voyeuristic tour of modern Manhattan in which privileged white kids reinvent themselves as gangstas, and African-American thugs morph into recording artists.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

A film that tries to cast Mike Tyson as an intellectual is never going to be that good. Odd film that shows how some white kids think it's cool to act gangster. Also shows how a promising basketball player gets caught up in the illegal activities of his friends.

Dean King
Dean King

Super Reviewer

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