review for Amos & Andrew on AllMovie

Amos & Andrew (1993)
by Karl Williams review

Attempting to be a wicked send-up of political correctness and the strained stand-off that is modern-day race relations, this ambitious comedy is a noble failure that ends up neither enlightening nor stirring controversy. The concept of a rich black man being mistaken for a thief in his own, brand-new home is one that could have provided some sharp-edged commentary and rich opportunities for dark, envelope-pushing satire. One longs to bask in what Spike Lee, for instance, might have done with the same pitch. Instead, writer/director E. Max Frye drowns the idea in a soup of manic situation comedy stylings that sap the story of its savage potential. Samuel L. Jackson and Nicolas Cage are appropriately outraged and stupid, respectively, but their characters are not exactly engineered to learn, develop, grow, or ever even really become interesting. Eager to seem topical while never really taking the chance of becoming downright offensive to somebody, Amos & Andrew is certainly to be commended for aiming so high, but it falls so woefully short of its target that it can't be recommended for simply being a nice try. It feels like an example of that worst late 20th century invention, art by committee.