Picks and Pans Review: A Low Down Dirty Shame

updated 12/05/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/05/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Keenen Ivory Wayans, Jada Pinkett, Salli Richardson, Charles S. Dutton

Saturday-night movies are movies to see with your critical faculties at half mast. Hey, you're out to have a good time. Think Die Hard, think Sister Act. A Low Down Dirty Shame, an action film that's funnier and more entertaining than it has any right to be between scenes of Wayans blowing away bad guys, is a quintessential Saturday-night movie.

Wayans the star, writer and director of this tale about a disgraced cop turned private eye who's out to settle an old score with a scumball drug dealer. The movie features a hilarious, spunky-but-chic performance by Pinkett as Wayans's assistant, much snappy patter and explosive action sequences, including a yucky slo-mo of blood spurting from a broken nose.

Citizen Kane it is not—and Wayans should know better than to have gay characters doing the fluttery equivalent of Stepin Fetchit routines. Dutton, who plays a drug-enforcement agent, yells more than necessary, and Richardson, as an ex-girlfriend of Wayans's, is so stiff you suspect she was lacquered before every take. But these are minor quibbles, and Saturday night is no time to nitpick. (R)

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