Condemning the hypocrisy peddled by Waist Deep is virtually pointless, as Vondie Curtis-Hall’s urban action-adventure is far too ridiculous to be taken seriously as either rousing melodrama or politically-minded rallying cry. Which is to say, though it denounces street violence while simultaneously glorifying gangsta culture with every tough-guy pose from star Tyrese Gibson and cleavage-baring hoochie strut by female sidekick Meagen Good, the film—from its extreme close-ups during any dialogue to its incoherent shootouts and jiggle-vision slow-mo for Good’s entrance—is so incompetent and inane that it wholly fails to outrage or offend.
After his car gets jacked with his young son sleeping in the backseat, ex-con O2 (Gibson) convinces hustler Coco (Good), who was in on the theft, to help him retrieve his boy by raising the $100,000 ransom set by O2’s former partner-in-crime and current thug kingpin Meat (The Game). To perform this feat—which will also allow them to forever escape their respective unhappy lives for a blissful existence in Mexico—the duo stick up Meat’s designer clothes fence (the hip-hop Paris Hilton herself, Kimora Lee), Coco’s pimp, and some banks, a series of dirty deeds that cause a pasty-faced gas station employee to dub the pair “a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde.”
It’s an apt analogy save for the fact that these two renegade robbers’ goals are (supposedly) noble and neither suffers from sexual dysfunction, the latter point hammered home when, immediately after lamenting that he’s not doing enough to rescue his child, O2 wastes precious time doing the nasty with Coco in the posh L.A. mansion in which they’ve shacked up. Such silliness is endemic to Waist Deep, its racial/class issues less developed than Gibson’s beefy, inked-up arms and its unintentional humor as consistent as its pounding soundtrack beats, with The Game’s steadfast rottweiler snarl (amplified by his having one eye swollen shut, for reasons left unexplained) deserving particularly dubious kudos. For sheer ludicrousness, however, nothing quite beats the distended finale, which commences with an absurd suicidal sacrifice and culminates with a hilarious happily-ever-after ending that gives new meaning to the term “unearned.”