A film that's built up a cult following over the years, "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood" was the second movie that came from the minds of the Wayans brothers after their success with "In Living Color" (the first being "Low Down Dirty Shame", the detective comedy done by Keenan Ivory Wayans.)
A parody of the "hood" genre (films like "Menace II Society", "Boyz in the Hood" and others), "Don't" stars Shawn and Marlon Wayans as Ashtray and Loc Dog, two brothers trying to grow up in the hood. Both have their problems, as when Ashtray looks for advice on women issues, he goes to his father, who happens to be younger than he is. He walks out of the house to see an ice cream truck being held up.
Although directed with little sense of comedic timing or style by music video director Paris Barclay, "Don't" still manages some laughs due to decent performances and a desire to throw just about everything at the audience in the hope that some of material sticks (an old lady dance-off during a church service is pretty funny.) The only problem in this case is, when the jokes don't stick, they fall pretty flat. Those who haven't seen many of the movies parodied also won't get as many of the bits, as they occasionally stay close to the scenes from the movies themselves.
Overall, "Don't" is occasionally quite funny, but the movie as a whole is a bit too uneven, as there are some fairly good chunks of the film without much successful humor.
This "unrated" edition adds about another 5 minutes into the picture (the box says 89 minutes, which is what the theatrical edition ran. However, the DVD player had the film running 94 minutes), but none of the material is too substancial or worthwhile. It just seemed like cutting room material that could be worked back into the movie to come up with an "unrated" edition to put into the marketplace. The chapters with unrated material are listed on the insert in the DVD case.
VIDEO: "Don't Be a Menace" gets a slightly upgraded presentation here, with a new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen effort. The low-budget feature looks consistently a bit sharper here, and some of the issues with the prior presentation are lessened or absent here.
Some minor print flaws and a couple of traces of pixelation are present, but edge enhancement isn't visible here, nor is any shimmering. Colors remain bright and vivid, with nice saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack is pretty basic, but delivers sound effects and dialogue crisply.
EXTRAS: A deleted scene, a very brief "Wayans Brothers Behind the Scenes" piece and another quick featurette called "Hood Movie Gumbo". Not much in the way of supplements for a "Collector's Edition" title.
Final Thoughts: "Don't Be A Menace" isn't quite as funny as I remember it being, but the picture still has a pretty decent share of mild laughs. Miramax's new DVD provides the same audio and slightly improved video, but not much at all in the way of supplements. Those who don't own themovie already and are interested in a purchase should go for this edition, but I don't think there's enough here to recommend an upgrade for those who own the prior release.