According to B-Rad (Jamie Kennedy) it's all hardcore in his 'hood. His real name however isn't B-Rad it's Brad Gluckman. And the 'hood he's talking about isn't Compton it's 'Bu--er Malibu where the folks are strapped with nines--nine irons that is. B-Rad has a bad case of gangster-phrenia which isn't sitting well with his father Bill (Ryan O'Neal) who is campaigning to be the next governor of California. To alleviate the situation his campaign manager comes up with a plan to hire two actors (Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson) to kidnap B-Rad and take him on a tour of the real 'hood to hopefully scare the "black" out of him. But despite being out of his element also known as the Malibrew Coffee Shop B-Rad isn't about to morph into Richie Cunningham--because he truly believes he is a gangsta rapper. Dad's plans turns sour not to mention hilarious when B-Rad actually gets kidnapped by some bonafide South Central thugs. Malibu's Most Wanted is downright stupid yet insanely funny especially at a time when one of the best selling rap artists is Eminem.
Selling B-Rad's gangsta persona as genuine is not an easy obstacle yet Kennedy (the Scream movies) does it without a hitch in his first starring feature role. The character is not so much stupid as he is naïve and that is what makes B-Rad so likeable; he doesn't have a mean bone in his body ("Why you hatin'?" a droopy-eyed B-Rad asks those who accuse him of being a poseur.) But what makes Kennedy's performance stand out is his ability to keep his stupid slang "rizz-eal" and consistent throughout the film. Diggs and Anderson are equally hilarious as the New York actors paid to act like South Central gangbangers. They take the job seriously and get into character by poring over A to Z: The Book of Rap & Hip-Hop Slang. After all they did study at Juilliard. O'Neal meanwhile captures the cheesy zeal of a politician clawing his way up the gubernatorial ladder spinning every situation into a smiling photo op. Keep an eye out for a funny cameo by Snoop Dogg. The rapper provides the voice of the talking rat that advises B-Rad in a prophetic dream sequence.
Kennedy created the white Malibu rapper character for his weekly 30-minute comedy series JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment on the WB. But unlike many Saturday Night Live skits whose big-screen translations have mostly failed Malibu's Most Wanted manages to hold up for most of its 86-minute duration. The gags and rips on white suburban rapper wannabes are endless as are the jabs at stereotypes of South Central and Malibu natives. Poor B-Rad for example laments the public's invading his family's "private" beach. And while some of the jokes are predictable (you know that B-Rad will use the N-word at the wrong time and not realize why) the majority of the gags will make you laugh out loud. Director John P. Whitesell (See Spot Run) keeps the pace going with hardly any lulls with the exception of the last 10 minutes or so when the movie is resolved in a sappy Hollywood ending.