Tootsie, Mrs Doubtfire, Some Like It Hot, The Crying Game - what have all these films got in common? Ladyboys, transvestites, cross dressers or put in simple terms, men dressing like women. The other thing that they have in common is that they are all quite funny (including the hilarious The Crying Game - till 1 hour 09 minutes into it when the sobering issues come to light). This then relates to Juwanna Mann, it too is about cross dressing but unlike the rest it isn't funny at all.
Painful though it is, lets get the plot out of the way. Jamal Jeffries (Miguel A. Nũňez Jr.) is the brashest and loudest player in pro basketball. Unfortunately, his behaviour manages to get him banned from the NBA league and as a result he's kicked out of his mansion, loses his sports cars and his gold digging girl friend leaves with the rest of his entourage.
Forced to move back into his Aunts (Jennifer Lewis) house, Jamal comes up with the idea of dressing up as a woman and playing in the female league. So, much to the horror of his agent, Lorne Daniels (Kevin Pollak - obviously the rent must be due as its the only explanation for his presence in such a dire affair) Jamal reinvents himself as Juwanna Mann, a female basket ball player within the woman's pro basketball league.
So Juwanna is happy, as she gets to play basketball and the team is impressed with her skills. Unfortunately Juwanna starts to have problems, such as the advances of Puff Smokey Smoke (Tommy Davidson); a rap star who's taken more than a shine to Juwanna, and the fact that Jamal starts to fall in love with team mate Michelle Langford (Vivica A Fox), who just sees Juwanna as a team mate and friend. This all leads to the highly predictable conclusion of deception and revelations and of course the inevitable happy ending.
To say that Juwanna Mann is a bad film is an insult to bad films. At least in Tootsie and Mrs Doubtfire, the leads could pass as women and sounded like women, but Miguel A. Nũňez Jr. is fooling no one at all. Fer frigs sake the guy has an Adams apple the size of a walnut - could they not have cast someone better? How the hell does no one recognise the most famous basket ball player in a short wig? Its a painful thing to watch.
There is just no logic to any of the proceedings. For example Juwanna is told early on that slam dunking is illegal in woman's basketball then he later goes on to win a game by slam dunking and smashing the back board - so has everyone decided to ignore the rules? or that when he is finally exposed why is the team allowed to continue playing in the tournaments (shouldn't they be disqualified for having an illegal player?) What's the point of pointing these things out earlier in the film and then having the script totally ignore them all? It shows extremely poor film making or just a total lack of attention.
Every cliché is used, from the crush on a team mate, false boobies that just don't stay in place, 'hilarious' showers, unwanted advances from an unsuspecting male. It just isn't funny at all. Its all cheap shots at getting cheap laughs. The performances are nothing to write home about, with only Kevin Pollak retaining a shred of dignity. Less said about the rest the better with Miguel A. Nũňez Jr. being the worst of the lot. He even adopts a Southern accent identical to Dustin Hoffmans in Tootsie.
Juwanna Mann has nothing really to recommend it and I doubt that it will even get a cinema release in the UK. Its just not crazy enough to succeed and just not emotional enough to hold itself up against other 'gender bending' comedies. Its probably best to avoid this and spend and evening in your wife's or girlfriends or hell even your mothers clothing whilst watching the sports channel (trust me its strangely liberating!).
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