Head of State is the ultimate hit-and-miss comedy. While the film has its moments (most coming in the final third of the film), there just arent enough to overcome a sluggish start. Chris Rock shows promise in his directorial debut, but the film waits way too long to bring out the refreshingly satirical wit.Rock plays Mays Gilliam, a fictitious Washington, D.C., alderman who is asked to run for president after the Democratic Partys presidential and vice presidential candidates are killed when their private jets crash in midair.It seems as if even before the accident, the Democratic Party realizes they have no chance of winning the election against Republican nominee Brian Lewis (Nick Searcy). Lewis is the incumbent vice president, a cousin of Sharon Stone, and running behind the slogan God bless America and nowhere else.Gilliams campaign gets off to a less-than-stellar start as two political advisors (Dylan Baker and Lyne Whitfield) constantly school him on how to act and what to say. But the reigns are soon loosened and, more and more, Gilliam starts to take the campaign into his own hands. Gilliam enlists the help of his brother (Bernie Mac) to run as his vice president and the two go on a campaign rampage.Rock has proven to be a fine comic actor under the right circumstances. He does have his moments, including a tirade on welfare, public schools and the working class, but for the most part his character is more of a straight man.It doesnt help that the film takes so long setting up the premise. I did like some of the bizarre supporting characters, including a very funny cameo by SNL member Tracy Morgan. But for most of the first hour I found myself laughing only sporadically, as the film tries to establish the romantic subplot between Rock and Tamala Jones. Its not until Mac shows up at the two-thirds mark when the film truly becomes edgy and, as a result, very funny. Some of the best moments are not just political jabs, but jabs at society. Its during those scenes that Head of State soars.I really wanted to like Head of State more, especially with the impressive wrap-up. Ultimately, though, the film is much like the wannabe candidate foiled by the primaries. You cant help but think what could have been, if only the movie had gotten off on the right foot. Sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton makes his big screen debut (for about 5 seconds) in Head of State. Can you find him? If so, drop him a line at mcompton@bgdailynews.com. The first 10 correct entries win a chance to have Micheal autograph his/her Head of State ticket stub (only one entry per household; offer void in Alaska and the Panama Canal).Head of StateStarring: Chris Rock, Bernie MacDirector: Chris RockRating: PG-13 for language, some sexuality and drug referencesPlaying at: Greenwood 6Grade: C+

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