Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity and sexual references.
Running time: 94 minutes
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Are you a pimp or a ho? You’re either one or the other according to E. Raymond Brown, the writer, director and star of “GhettoPhysics.”
Part documentary, part illustrative melodrama, the purpose of this cynical flick is to drive home the point that all human relationships are based on exploitation, and that you’re always either pimpin’ or getting pimped. And Mr. Brown makes it clear that it’s far better to be a pimp than a ho because contrary to the suggestion made by the Oscar-winning song from the film “Hustle & Flow,” it’s a lot harder out there for a ho than for a pimp.
This picture’s lexicon is laced with common street language employed in the ‘hood, but that is by design in order to break down some more complicated economic relationships into layman’s terms. Thus, although the adventure starts off with actual pimps and hos discussing the nature of their dirty business, the production eventually gets around to making its case that how they interact is par for the course. This lesson is imparted with the help of well known academic and political pundits such as former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Princeton Professor Cornel West, and whistleblower John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.”
The thrust of this incendiary expose’ is that “Capitalism is the biggest pimp game” around, judging by how “President Bush was Dick Cheney’s bitch” who invaded Iraq at the direction of the vice president, a war profiteer determined to filled the coffers of his former firm Halliburton.
Frankly, although director Brown’s thought-provoking thesis is initially intriguing, this critic eventually found his dog-eat-dog deconstruction of the planet to be frankly a little depressing, Professor West stood out in my estimation for sounding a rare note of optimism in the midst of a seemingly ubiquitous, omni-permeating symphony of despair when he stated that the need is to “transform the gangsta orientation to a more compassionate and decent one.” His thinking contrasted sharply with the conventional wisdom generally propagated here that, “You get played and pimped if you’re naïve.”
The movie’s most sobering moment arrives via a quote from the late visionary Bucky Fuller in a dire warning that “We’re at the point where we’re about to find out whether humanity was a successful experiment of nature or just a dead end.” Is everybody really a pimp or a ho, or are there other choices available to those of us who detest both alternatives?