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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Chappelle is essential ingredient for good ‘Block Party’

    Director Michel Gondry and comedian Dave Chappelle join forces in the new film Block Party, which is a documentary about a block party that Chappelle hosted in Brooklyn in 2004.
    Director Michel Gondry and comedian Dave Chappelle join forces in the new film ‘Block Party,’ which is a documentary about a block party that Chappelle hosted in Brooklyn in 2004.

    Movie Review

    “”I’m Rick James, bitch!””

    Sadly, Rick James was not at Dave Chappelle’s block party, but pretty much everyone else who’s anyone worth knowing was there.

    Chappelle’s brilliant idea was to use his fame to build the concert he always wanted to see in downtown Brooklyn. He used the front of a rundown church and the preschool where Biggie Smalls used to go as the starting point. The lineup of performers included stars like Common, Kanye West, Mos Def and the Roots, highlighted by a performance from the reunited Fugees.

    The next item on the list for the perfect block party: a diverse group of people to attend the event. Chappelle has a dozen or two “”golden tickets”” to give away to some very lucky people. These tickets, giving people all-access to the party, are even hotter items than Willy Wonka’s golden tickets.

    Instead of prowling the streets of New York, Chappelle hits up some stores near his hometown in Ohio. Some of the lucky winners include a middle-aged white woman who sells him cigarettes in the morning, a couple of hard-of-hearing elderly citizens and the drum line from the marching band of Central State University.


    Dave Chappelle’s “”Block Party””
    Bob Yari productions
    100 min.

    Chappelle also takes to driving along the streets of New York yelling through a bullhorn for everyone to come to the party. Despite a lack of publicity, hundreds show up for the underground party to jam out and have a good time.

    What’s great about the “”Block Party”” is that although Chappelle is the main focus, he doesn’t make the documentary a vehicle solely to promote himself. Some of the funniest parts come from his interaction with people he runs into on the street. One of the white ladies from Ohio who is going to the party, her first time at a rap event, muses, “”I knew I should have bought a thong.”” Director Michael Gondry realizes that the ordinary people are at times even funnier than Chappelle in their enthusiasm alone and chooses wisely which ones to include.

    The problem in watching “”Block Party”” is every time you see Chappelle, you long for him just to give in to performing a long comedy routine/skit like he used to do on “”Chappelle’s Show.”” You get the occasional sarcastic, dry line from him, but as soon as you start to crack up, the movie cuts to a different scene.

    The same thing is true for the musical performances. They spend a lot of time building up why Chappelle respects each of these musicians, but the filmmakers do not actually let the musicians run free in the movie. The performances get cropped out and spliced apart, so once you start jamming out to Kanye West’s performance of “”Jesus Walks,”” it’s quickly replaced by backstage footage or a completely different group.

    Since it’s probably unlikely that Chappelle’s going to start working on a third season any time soon, “”Block Party”” does a decent job holding you over.

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