Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Dave Chappelle's Block Party (2006)
15Contains strong language

Rainy weather can't dampen spirits in Dave Chappelle's Block Party, a contagiously joyful documentary about a free concert staged on the streets of Brooklyn in September 2004. For one night only, thousands get to groove to a stellar R&B/hip-hop line-up, including Mos Def, Kanye West, Erykah Badu and - together for the first time in seven years - The Fugees. But ultimately this is Chappelle's show. The comic upstages the musos with his foul-mouthed, sweet-natured charm.

Our host's innate affability is captured to a T in scenes where he saunters around his Ohio neighbourhood offering golden gig tickets to friends, strangers, and an entire college marching troupe. Lest anyone get impatient for the main event, director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) intercuts preparations with performances. There's a scorching duet between Jill Scott and Erykah Badu (sporting an immense Afro wig, presumably for the benefit of those furthest back), while old-schoolers will thrill to a guest spot from rapper Big Daddy Kane.


But the showstopper has to be the reunited Fugees performing signature hit Killing Me Softly, which closes the film. Not to be outshone by Lauryn Hill's honeyed vocals, bandmate Wyclef Jean grabs another highlight with a sweary offstage speech urging the kids to get the library. Yes, there's a little preachiness here, but it doesn't puncture the party mood. Or stop Chappelle telling dirty jokes about prostitutes, for that matter. Thanks to him this isn't just a musical feast, but a rib-busting comedy too.

End Credits

Director: Michel Gondry

Writer: n/a

Stars: Dave Chappelle, Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common , dead prez

Genre: Documentary, Musical, Comedy

Length: 102 minutes

Cinema: 30 June 2006

Country: USA

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