Repping the other side of the comic coin from his kidpic hijinx with Disney, “Citizen James” is thesp Doug E. Doug’s homey home movie, too light on its feet to become a pure ego trip — though it sure comes close. Spoofing Spike Lee in name and figure only (mentions of helmer’s name are bleeped out with noisemakers on soundtrack), B&W pic set in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant recalls bits of Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It,” but without latter’s insights into human nature. Even with Doug’s wall-to-wall involvement, “Citizen” will draw only nominal fest action.
Twenty-one-year-old James (Doug) feels stuck in Bed-Stuy until he’s suddenly (and unconvincingly) motivated when watching a movie to make his own, aided by buddies Fuquan (Tyrone Jefferson) and Steffon (Albert Shiver Jr.). Brainstorming sesh is as funny as this gets, with eventual effort by James to film bio of Angela Davis much less amusing than it sounds. Topical subjects, such as black youth ignorant of their history, ride on the flimsiest of stories. Doug is the only cast member who can act, but his hapless behind-the-lens work stifles any comic energy pic contains.