Master of Ceremonies

Comedian spreads his wealth of charm, spirit and love of fun 'Dave Chappelle's Block Party'

March 03, 2006|By MICHAEL SRAGOW | MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Dave Chappelle has the stretch and bounce of an elastic band pushed just shy of the breaking point. That goes not only for his beanpole physique but also for the breadth and range of his humor and sympathy. His superficially wayward yet dead-on aim makes him constantly surprising. What's most enveloping about him is his generosity of spirit. He's a small-D democrat, small-C catholic satirist of race. And he's a celebrant of all that's genuinely funky.

When he forges an unexpected human connection, his face, which can seem as round and unformed as a newborn's, beams as powerfully as a lighthouse. His capacity for pure delight is rare in contemporary comedians. It's the nontoxic glue that holds Dave Chappelle's Block Party together and gives it a whiff of euphoria.

Dave Chappelle's Block Party (Rogue Pictures) Starring Dave Chappelle, Mos Def, Kanye West, Erykah Badu and the Fugees. Directed by Michel Gondry. Rated R. Time 100 minutes.

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