Mar 3, 2010
I actually found the first act of Race kind of awesome. I enjoyed David Mamet's presidential farce November in much the same spirit: He may no longer be the same brilliant punk who gave us Glengarry and American Buffalo, but I have to say I like having this cranky/crafty old pro around; at his best, he's like some unholy hybrid of Archie Bunker and George S. Kaufman. The first scene of Race is excruciatingly stiff and expository, but the rest of that first act sang, to my ears, and Mamet does know how to bring down a curtain.
Alas, here he's playing for bigger game, and the second act turns into a painfully awkward conservative straw-man roleplay, rehearsing all the things he's wanted to say in arguments, real or imagined, with liberals on the subject of race. And though James Spader is generally excellent throughout, during one long lecture/scene opposite the one-note Kerry Washington, Spader's slightly pudgy build, blond hair, and sing-songy sarcasm actually put me in mind of Glenn Beck.
As a side note, David Alan Grier deserves a play to himself, maybe even one by Mamet (and having seen Grier in Forum years ago, I could actually see him rocking November).
Ulimately, my final grade for Race would be close to the median here.
Posted by Rob Weinert-Kendt at 8:08 AM