Projections - Movie Reviews

Pootie Tang

Pootie Tang

Pootie Tang steps into a movie weekend that has Steven Spielberg's A.I. out to surprise audiences and John Singleton's socially cognizant Baby Boy perhaps having many young black men and their families and friends taking a closer look at their lives.  So, Paramount Pictures inserted this briefly concocted film inspired from The Chris Rock Show into a mid-summer movie.

Louis C.K., the film's writer and director, imparts a sketchy, grainy cinematic sense to Pootie Tang which stars Lance Crother who, despite his intelligible ebonic-speak, is quite popular at the onset.

Pootie is the role model for those who want to live healthy, advocating against the evils of smoking, drinking, drugs, and fast food sold to kids by the nefarious Lecter Corporation.

The evil magnate Dick Lecter is played by Robert Vaughn in a reprisal of his corporate America part in Superman III.  So Lecter, schemes to tank Pootie's reputation by having him promote his products like mace, malt liquor, and Pork Chunks cereal.

The rampant spontaneity of Pootie Tang maybe emanates from Crother's personality and the aura of the super hero and cut scenes left in for comedic effect.  He can avoid gunfire and has a woman consume a pie from his face.  Rock himself is in three lesser, but droll roles, one as Pootie's dad who gives him a talismanic belt to battle criminals after being mauled by a gorilla at a steel mill, only to rise again as a corn stalk.

Lecter's slutty ace in the hole is Ireenie, acted by Jennifer Coolidge of American Pie to get the belt and make the powerless Pootie a pawn to turn his slippery business more profitable.  There's even a chain of "Pootie's Bad Time Burgers" about to open with the intimidating arrival of a grime-ridden drug pusher Dirty Dee (Reg E. Cathey).

Pootie Tang abounds in stereotypes and in its slight, momentarily witty way is an ill-fated product of corporate Hollywood, as Paramount's MTV films caters to Rock and the Pootie dialogues like "Sa do tay" or "Sin you pity on the runny kine."  Rock doesn't wield his comedy charm as in the "R" rated Dogma or Nurse Betty, but his scenes outclass most everyone, with the exception of Wanda Sykes' garish streetwalker who warmly greets the fleeing Pootie at her farm.

Rock, and Sykes were the brains behind The Chris Rock Show, but again the half-hour format is hard to expand into a sharply witty feature length film which may have been refined better by the likes of Keenan Ivory Wayans who made the hip-hip gansta parody, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

Pootie Tang

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