Last week on CNN, Miguel Nunez and Vivica A. Fox were promoting the movie Juwanna Mann. A viewer called in, asking Nunez about how he survives as a Latino actor. Nunez's reply was simply, "Dude, I'm black."
This is undoubtedly funnier than anything in the actual film.
The comedy stars Nunez as Jamal Jeffries, a talented player with a penchant for picking up fouls and getting ejected from games. When his coach wants to sit him down after he picks up his fifth foul, he --naturally -- strips naked in front of the crowd. Even stranger is the fact that Jeffries strips in front of a packed crowd in Charlotte. Charlotte! If this film were realistic, only about 1,200 fans would have seen the Chippendale display.
But anyway, when the commissioner of the United Basketball Association suspends him indefinitely, Jeffries loses everything and has to move back in with his aunt. Since his only real skill is basketball, he concocts a plan with his agent (Kevin Pollak) to dress up as a woman and join the WUBA's Charlotte Banshees under the name Juwanna Mann.
Jeffries, in disguise as Mann, is the best player in the league, but won't pass the ball. But it may have something to do with his teammates, who call for the ball even when Mann is on a breakaway. Mann learns how to pass the ball when he discovers that he can goose his female teammates after he delivers an assist. What a guy! As the Banshees continue to improve, the friendship between Mann and fellow star Michelle Langford (Fox) blossoms. Everything falls apart, however, in the first-round playoff game when, Mann dunks the ball to win the game at the buzzer and his wig falls off.
But there's a happy ending. Jeffries returns to play for Charlotte in the UBA after the Banshees win the title without him. Think Ladybugs, only worse.To the movie's credit, Nunez does a pretty good job with the role and the material, and Pollak has some funny lines, but other than that, only a cameo by Dikembe Mutumbo -- who does not speak, unfortunately -- makes it watchable. The end of the film is pretty ridiculous. The movie acts like everything Jeffries did is OK because he learned a lesson, which apparently is, as he says, "Women's basketball isn't a joke."
That's true, but his character -- and this film -- did its best to try and make it one.