Crown Heights (2004) starring Howie Mandel, Mario Van Peebles, Dequan Henderson, Jonathan Goldapple directed by Jeremy Kagan Movie Review

Crown Heights (2004)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Crown Heights (2004) starring Howie Mandel, Mario Van Peebles

Increase the Peace

Movies like "Crown Heights" make my life as a movie reviewer difficult not just because it is based on real events but its intentions are good yet as a movie it doesn't quite work. It means that whilst I enjoyed the movie because of its noble storyline of bringing peace to a divided community I also found it hard work because of the stereotypes, the styling and a lack of character.

So "Crown Heights" takes place following the riots of 1991 with a storyline surrounding a Rabbi (Howie Mandel) and African American Paul Johnson (Mario Van Peebles) uniting to try and bring peace to the neighbourhood through the teenagers from each side getting to know each other and working together through music and sport.

Now as I said "Crown Heights" is a noble movie with good intentions as it shows the work of this Rabbi and Paul Johnson to try and break down the barriers and misunderstandings between cultures. And for that reason "Crown Heights" is enjoyable because any movie which tries to preach peace, understanding and unity has something going for it.

But "Crown Heights" has the feel of being an after school special and appears to be aimed at teenage market but with it being full of stereotypes it often borders on the corny. That is not the only issue as the inclusion of documentary style footage and screen in screen interviews just spoils the movies flow.

What this all boils down to is that as a movie "Crown Heights" has a lot of issues but because it has good intentions makes you feel like letting some of those issues slide.