We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

The exaggerated ‘do wins half the battle for Undercover Brother: You can’t watch the Afro’d secret agent Anton Jackson without giggling, especially when he cocks his eyebrow in too-cool disregard at whatever strangers are gaping at him and his golden Cadillac trolling down the street. But when Anton (Eddie Griffin) joins forces with underground black power organization the Brotherhood to fight the Man’s Operation Whitewash—an attempt to keep a black man from running for president of the United States—the movie becomes more than just a sight gag. Sure, the jokes may not exactly be original, but they’re delivered with endearingly perfect goofiness in this lighthearted sendup of blaxploitation films. Billy Dee Williams plays the general who’s rumored to be running for president—which has newscasters commenting that “he’s so well-spoken.” But he soon comes under the control of the Man’s Mr. Feather (an underused Chris Kattan) and announces that he’s opening a chain of fried-chicken joints instead. The Brotherhood sends Anton to infiltrate Operation Whitewash decked out in nerdy polo shirts and khakis (after testing him with a Friends trivia question to ensure that he’s ready to enter the Caucasian world), and that’s when things get dirty: A counterattack comes in the form of “black man’s kryptonite,” the White She-Devil (Denise Richards), who seduces Anton and makes him eat mayonnaise after a karaoke duet of “Ebony and Ivory.” With inspired casting breathing life into the quip-a-minute script by John Ridley (whose animated Internet series the movie is based on), there’s hardly a character who doesn’t have a great moment: Williams delivers a hilarious commercial for General’s Fried Chicken; Dave Chappelle, as the supermilitant Conspiracy Brother, shouts “Give me a pillow case, I’m joining the Klan!” in a desperate moment; and Neil Patrick Harris, Doogie Howser himself, shows up as Lance, the Brotherhood’s geeky intern (“affirmative action,” the chief sighs). And, of course, there’s the unflappable wearer of the ‘fro: With a look like that, he’s got to be good. —Tricia Olszewski