National Security | Chicago Reader

National Security

A tourist's videotape shows a white Los Angeles police officer (Steve Zahn) beating an African-American motorist (Martin Lawrence); in reality the black man is allergic to bumblebee stings and the cop is swinging at the offending insect with his nightstick. That dubious Rodney King joke is the high point of this buddy comedy written by Jay Scherick and David Ronn. Tossed out of the police academy, Lawrence declares himself a victim of discrimination and perjures himself to send the cop to prison, yet the testy couple later bond (“You the man!”) working as $182-a-week guards at National Security Inc. Forever the cowardly clown, Lawrence defangs his race-based humor of resentment: he may call white cops Nazis and pigs, yet when he finally gets his LAPD badge he mimics a squad-car siren like some giddy, bug-eyed kid. Dennis Dugan directed. 90 min.

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