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‘A Low Down Dirty Shame’ (R)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
November 24, 1994

Like his 1988 hip spoof "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," Keenen Ivory Wayans's new "A Low Down Dirty Shame" draws on the excesses of the blaxploitation pix of the 1970s. Only this time out, Wayans isn't sure whether to send up "Shaft" and company or simply to remake the action thriller. The result is an embarrassing compromise.

Wayans, who directs from his own screenplay, also plays Andre Shame, a disgraced cop now working as a private eye. After he is retained to track down $20 million in missing drug money, Shame is reunited with an old flame (Salli Richardson) and the Mexican mobster (Andrew Divoff) who destroyed his good name.

The plot, as muddled as it is trite, allows Wayans to romance the luscious Richardson and to beat the salsa out of Divoff in a shopping mall. The locations tend to be as standardized as the action, which is nevertheless the picture's strength.

Wayans, head shaved, ear pierced, body buffed, looks fine, and if he'd only go with it, he'd make as lethal a weapon as the next Hollywood he-man. It would be one thing to incorporate the comedy into the character, but he steps out again and again to do shtick, as when he serenades a pack of Rotweilers with "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)."

With the exception of Charles S. Dutton, who plays one of Shame's colleagues, the supporting cast varies between the toothlessness of Divoff's villain and the yappiness of Jada Pinkett as Shame's chihuahua-like sidekick.

Add rotten to low, down and dirty shame, and that'll about cover it.

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