Hollywood Shuffle
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This satirical look at the ambivalent relationship between Hollywood power brokers and African-American performers marked the writing, producing, and directing debut of Robert Townsend. The filmmaker also stars as Bobby Taylor, a struggling actor looking for his big break despite his family's and co-workers' reservations about his chosen career path. While working a day job flipping burgers, Bobby heads out to insulting cattle calls where white casting agents pass judgement on whether he seems "black enough." Meanwhile, he imagines himself playing Sam Spade, Rambo, and other… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Brimming with imagination and energy, Hollywood Shuffle is the kind of shoestring effort more appealing in theory than execution."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Mr. Townsend has taken aim at the industry's funny bone and struck a solid blow."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Townsend's low-budget indie is quite a poignant satire of the Hollywood industry and black stereotyping"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Instead of bile it has humor, which is the more reliable means of conveying a message."
‑ Mark Bourne, DVDJournal.com
"More interesting in retrospect for its legitimate central message than its entertainment value"
‑ Jon Niccum, Lawrence Journal-World
"Improv talent Robert Townsend is pretty much the whole show."
‑ Pat Graham, Chicago Reader
"For a mere $100,000, Townsend and company have made a funny, poignant and technically proficient film -- one that should thoroughly embarrass those studios that routinely offer up badly made, multimillion-dollar disasters."
‑ Richard Harrington, Washington Post
"Always enjoyable and Townsend is great."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"The movie isn't perfect, but it provides some genuine laughs and some real food for thought."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"Slyly funny satire on the the Hollywood race game."
‑ Scott Weinberg, eFilmCritic.com
"Despite the film's conspicuously minuscule budget and shaky narrative structure, it is funny. If you value enthusiasm and imagination more than glossy sophistication, you'll laugh."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Under the circumstances, Hollywood Shuffle is an artistic compromise but a logistical triumph, announcing the arrival of a new talent whose next movie should really be something."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Although haphazardly paced and scattershot in approach, when it works, this satire on Hollywood's attitudes toward African-Americans is downright hilarious."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Hollywood Shuffle is very uneven, the work of an inexperienced first-time director with a lot of unfocused talent."
‑ , Film4
"The film is quite worth seeing."
‑ Mark R. Leeper, rec.arts.movies.reviews
More reviews for Hollywood Shuffle on Rotten Tomatoes