A scene from 'All About the Benjamins'
Courtesy Photo
2.5 stars 90 minutes | Rated: R
Opened: Friday, March 8, 2002
Directed by Kevin Bray

Starring Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Tommy Flanagan, Eva Mendes, Carmen Chaplin, Roger Guenveur Smith, Anthony Michael Hall, Valarie Ray Miller


Buy it? Nah. Rent it? Nah. Maybe watch when it comes on HBO.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 08.20.2002


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Action-comedy teams bounty hunter Cube with his quarry in partnership that's 'All About the Benjamins'

By Rob Blackwelder

Ice Cube and Mike Epps, co-stars of the stoner satire "Next Friday," trade their ganja for gunplay in "All About the Benjamins." Cube is a rebellious, hotshot Miami bounty hunter and Epps is his frequent petty-criminal quarry, but they become partners looking to score some fast cash when one of their regular foot chases lands them both in the middle of a diamond heist.

Actually, Epps isn't interested in the diamonds. He dropped his wallet while hiding in the back of the jewel thieves' van and he just wants it back because the wallet contains his girlfriend's winning $60 million lottery ticket.

Cube doesn't buy that story, but he plays along because he wants to start his own private detective agency and he figures he could get some great publicity out of collaring a couple killers who stole $20 million in stones.

The plot -- a cheap, civilian cut from the "Bad Boys" cloth -- plays out pretty much as you'd expect, with car chases, shootouts, and power-punching fisticuffs on yachts belonging to snarling Scottish bad guys sporting big facial scars. In the last 20 minutes, the plot is virtually abandoned so this showboating can be extended to include a rocket launcher, a fight on a speedboat, etc.

But as a frustrated Cube (who co-wrote the script) and a frantic Epps snipe at each other in street-smart odd-couple fashion, they keep the grins coming at a steady enough pace that "Benjamins" delivers on the comedy front while director Kevin Bray keeps the action tight. A veteran of 100-plus music videos, Bray provides the flick with an energetic visual style of freeze-frames, kinetic camera angles, over-exposed color and staccato editing that serves the story well.

"All About the Benjamins" (the title, for those who aren't lingo-savvy, is a reference to $100 bills) is in no way original, or even all that memorable, but as downtown Saturday matinee brain candy, it doesn't disappoint.


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