Jamie Kennedy has his ‘Malibu’–and TV, too

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
April 13, 2003

If Jamie Kennedy’s movie career takes off, it could end up killing his TV show.

But Kennedy, whose feature film, “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” opens Friday, doesn’t seem too concerned.

As the host and chief prankster on “JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment”–which airs at 8 p.m. Thursdays on WGN-Channel 9–Kennedy banks on the fact people won’t recognize the oddball characters he creates. If people realize who he is before he can pull the wool over their eyes, his modern-day “Candid Camera” series is as good as canceled.

But lying down on a sofa at the Ritz-Carlton downtown, where he is snorting nasal spray like there’s no tomorrow, the sniffly actor insists any degree of popularity for his movie won’t affect his show.

“I’ll be able to do ‘JKX’ as long as I want,” says Kennedy, 32. “I have faith in my disguises.”

He’s been disguised as a ventriloquist who unnerves his date and her parents; an odd little man who’s constantly drooling, thanks to the way his mouth has been wired after “surgery,” and a cocky little wanna-be rapper named Brad Gluckman who sings about rough times on the mean streets of … Malibu.

It’s this last bit that has morphed into “Malibu’s Most Wanted.” As B-Rad (get it?), Kennedy wears track suits with designer visors and mutters incomprehensible words such as “shizzit.” Gluckman is a bad (and by bad, we mean bad–not good) black rapper trapped in a wealthy white boy’s body. His parents (Ryan O’Neal and Bo Derek) love him but are embarrassed by his antics.

When his dad runs for governor of California, the uptight campaign manager decides B-Rad needs to act like who he was born to be. He conjures up a scenario so B-Rad will be “kidnapped” and scared back into being a white boy.

For a sneak peek of “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” check out the “Brad Gluckman Special” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on WGN-Channel 9.

Gluckman has been a favorite of Kennedy’s from the get-go. So the actor was excited when Warner Bros. gave him the green light to make the film.

Not everyone wanted to participate, though. Starbucks wouldn’t allow its logo to be depicted in the film. The coffee conglomerate may have taken offense to its depiction on “JKX,” where Gluckman regularly mispronounces it as “Starbutz.”

“They wanted nothing to do with us,” Kennedy says. “I was really disappointed about that. I had wanted to make Starbucks a character in the movie. Like every time there was a integral point where it was funny, I wanted a close-up of a Starbucks cup and pull the camera out on it. It would’ve been like an evil empire.”

Thinking about what he just said, Kennedy laughs. Now he understands the coffee chain’s reluctance to participate in his picture.

“You know what I mean,” he says. “I love Starbucks and drink it all the time. But I think it would’ve been funny.”

They came up with a funnier concept for a coffee shop: Malibrew, where all the wealthy homeys hang before hitting the mall.

Snoop Dogg voices a chain-wearing rodent who makes an appearance in the film and also did a song called “Girls, Girls.”

Kennedy was disappointed he didn’t get to meet the rapper, who voiced his scenes on days when Kennedy wasn’t on set. Not that he would’ve asked him for rapping tips. Conjuring up B-Rad bravado, Kennedy brags, “I can rap.”

Laughing, he adds, “OK, I’m a funny, goofy rapper. It’s not so much my style but what I rap about. I can rap about anything: ‘Nasal spray/Use it today/I ain’t gay/Hello, Jae.’ “

Born in Pennsylvania, Kennedy took quickly to Los Angeles. He enjoys the melting pot that makes up the city and riffs on L.A.’s multicultural stew in “Malibu’s Most Wanted.” “We kind of lampoon everyone,” Kennedy says. “There’s a TV reporter in the movie called Soon-Yi Baxter Hernandez, which is such an L.A. thing.

“But I love L.A. It’s the only place where you can walk into a Starbucks and see a hardcore group of gangbangers, businessmen carrying briefcases and kids in torn jeans, and they’re all buying $6 lattes.”

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