Film review: Blankman

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 13 1994 12:00 a.m. MDT

"Blankman" is Damon Wayans' attempt to create a big-screen African-American comic superhero, in a similar fashion to Robert Townsend's failed "The Meteor Man" last year.

Unfortunately, Wayans' effort isn't any better than Townsend's - the laughs just aren't there.

Wayans plays something of an idiot savant, a ridiculous nerd with no social skills whatsoever who creates complicated Rube Goldberg machines out of household junk - including a robot that is part washing machine.

The plot has Wayans getting fed up with the crime-filled streets of his neighborhood, especially after his grandmother is killed by local mobsters. So, he comes up with a weird superhero outfit and goes after the hoods in his hood.

Meanwhile, his brother (David Alan Grier), who works for a local television tabloid news program, is trying to crack the "real" news shows and is smitten with a beautiful anchor (Robin Givens). But wouldn't you know it - "Blank-man" is the big news story of the day, and the anchor only has eyes for this new superhero of the streets.

Some of this is mildly amusing but there is a mean spirit that undercuts the laughs and the violence is surprisingly harsh. In addition, there is a string of vulgar gags, some of them quite disgusting - including Grier's pickup lines. No wonder he can't get a date.

An unfortunate misfire, "Blankman" is rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, vulgarity and some nude photos.