Vanilla Ice's pale parody of blacks cracks 'Cool as Ice'


October 19, 1991|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic

Some say the world will end in fire and some say ice. I say it will end in Vanilla Ice.

Isn't it politically incorrect for white people to imitate black people these days? About once a year doesn't the Sig House at some Southern football power get kicked off campus for holding an Amos 'n' Andy party?

The word seems not to have reached Robert Matthew Van Winkle who, disguised as Vanilla Ice, is putting on what can only be described as an Amos show. It's as if his guiding text is Norman Mailer's seminal '50s essay, "The White Negro," but somehow I doubt that Vanilla Ice is what Mailer had in mind.

The Ice's film debut, a cameo in the second Ninja Turtles movie notwithstanding, is a lame variation on the "Rebel Without a Cause" theme.Call it "Rebel Without a Clue." Set in some alternate universe where Papa is played by Alex Keaton's father without his beard, it watches as the bodacious white dork swoops in on a pretty suburban lass (Kristin Minter) who is lavaliered to another white dork, and by throwing his main moves her action makes her, like, his squeeze. Along the way he saves her from some kidnappers conjured up in a dim subplot.

It might possibly work if Vanilla Ice were not A.) white and B.) a big dork. But he is. He makes Pee-wee Herman look like Brando in "The Wild One." He has Tab Hunter's boringly pretty '50s face hiding underConvenience Store sunglasses and a Tastee Freeze mousse that solidifies his hair into the eternal Olympic Flame.

His racist stylings on black argot -- he does not speak a sentence without the word "Yo" in it until well into the second half-hour -- lose their novelty in about seven seconds, particularly as they reduce, as must all caricature, what is complex and dense and creative into a few crude minor chords.

Who owns the souls of black folks? It sure isn't this kid. Kool Moe Dee would hand him his lunch in about six seconds. The Iceman stinketh.

'Cool as Ice'

Starring Vanilla Ice.

Directed by David Kellogg.

Released by Universal.

Rated PG.


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