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Waist Deep Review

By Shawn McKenzie 06/25/2006

So…is rapper Jayceon Terell “The Game” Taylor a better actor than Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson?  Based on his latest movie, Waist Deep, the answer would be…yes.  Is actor Vondie Curtis-Hall’s third theatrical directorial effort a great movie?  Well…

Otis (Tyrese Gibson), or “O2” as he likes to be called (because he can supposedly disappear faster than oxygen), is a single father who has recently been paroled after doing a six year jail stint.  He now works as a security guard for a department store, and for some odd reason, they have given this ex-con a gun.  While at work, O2 finds out that his irresponsible cousin Lucky (Larenz Tate) hasn’t picked up his 9-year-old son Junior (H. Hunter Hall, Curtis-Hall’s real son) yet from school, and since his replacement hasn’t shown up yet, he has to pick him up himself.  As O2 leaves the store, he takes along with him the gun and a cowboy-and-horse set to give Junior.  The boy is happy to finally see his dad, and he has O2 promise that he will always come back for him (Junior has abandonment issues, since his mother left him when he was a baby and never came back.)  On O2’s way back to the store, Junior opens the glove department and finds the gun.  O2 reprimands him for playing with the gun, and he puts it in his pants behind his back.  The drive back to the store must have been a long one, because Junior falls asleep, and O2 puts him in the backseat.  While at a stoplight, an attractive woman named Coco (Meagan Good), a street hustler, sidetracks O2 by flirting with him in order to get him to buy some designer suits, which he doesn’t give into.  Not long after though, he is carjacked…with Junior still in the backseat.  O2 tries to run after the car, and the carjacker’s partners attempt to give him a hard time, but he kills some of the bad guys with the gun still in his pants, which doesn’t result in rescuing his son.  He sees Coco by the side of the road, and he points the gun at her, wondering if she had if she had anything to do with the carjacking.  She swears that she wasn’t involved in it, and she takes O2 to a chop shop owned by a guy named Rock (Darris Love) to see if the carjackers brought the car there.  After a confrontation with Rock and the discovery that Junior isn’t there, O2 takes Coco to see Lucky and have him get in contact with his criminal colleagues to find out who has Junior.  Lucky finds out that the infamous drug lord Big Meat (The Game), the cruel leader of the Outlaw Syndicate (his stabbed-out right eye might have something to do with his nasty demeanor), has Junior and he is demanding $100,000 by Friday at midnight, or harm will come to the boy.  Meat is under the impression that O2 has the money, since they were partners in a robbery, which resulted in O2 doing the six years (Meat assumes that O2 still has the money from the robbery stashed somewhere.)  Since O2 can’t go to the police to help him get his son back (the killing of the carjackers from earlier would be his third strike under the California three-strike rule), Coco agrees to help O2 come up with the money in exchange for the scratch necessary to fund her move to Mexico and escape from her hustling boss, P-Money.  O2 decides to set up a fake robbery of both Meat and P-Money’s crews with the hope that they will go after each other and he will get his son back.  While going to the residence of a fencing house lady (Kimora Lee Simmons), who specializes in designer clothes, O2 robs P-Money’s crew and claims that Meat sent him.  He does the same with Meat’s crew, and one of the things that they swipe is a bag filled with safe-deposit box keys.  They get the idea to have Coco distract the bank employees while he walks out with the contents of the safe-deposit boxes.  They also break into a rich couple’s house…who are away on vacation…in order to lay low for a few days.  As their infamy rises in the media, all O2 is concerned about is getting back his son by any means necessary.

I certainly wouldn’t call the movie the best thing that I’ve seen this year, but it has its moments.  Tyrese is first-class as always, but I would have liked to have seen his humorous side…like he was in 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious.  He had good chemistry with Good, who also had to pick up the humor slack herself (there is also an unnecessary sex scene that unfortunately doesn’t include any nudity…but I’ll let that slide.)  The Game is impressive in his acting debut, but it might be that playing a villain with a prosthetic gouged-out eye was a fun one that didn’t require him to have to carry the whole movie himself.  Even though he did bad things in last year’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 50 Cent’s character in that movie was essentially a good person…which made his already wooden acting boring.  Since he wasn’t in it very long, and since he got to do cool stuff like chopping off an underling’s arm with a machete, The Game’s character was more fascinating than Fiddy’s Marcus.

While the setup for the movie was interesting, and the Bonnie-and-Clyde segments were amusing, the movie overall didn’t do much for me.  The biggest crime had to be the end though.  I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that you might roll your eyes to its implausibility.

Waist Deep, which was co-written by Curtis-Hall and Darin Scott (based off a story written by Michael Mahern), is an okay movie, but with all of the really good movies coming out this summer, this one isn’t worth paying full price to see.  After directing 1997’s Tupac Shakur/Tim Roth movie Gridlock’d, and having the dishonor of directing the 2001 bomb Glitter (which nearly ruined Mariah Carey’s career), Curtis-Hall doesn’t have a good track record.  With a ho-hum story and a ridiculous ending, you might find yourself waist deep in disappointment because you could have spent your $10 watching a better movie.

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