Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Lance Crouther,
Jennifer Coolidge, Wanda Sykes, Robert Vaughn, Chris Rock
Director: Louis C.K.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: Theatrical Trailer, Music Video
Length: 81 Minutes
Release Date: November 27, 2001
“Yo, Bad Bitty, how you be?”
“I’m bad, Dirty D. You still
dirty, I can see.”
One of the strangest feelings in the world is watching a
movie released to the public that doesn’t feel quite finished, and that’s
the main reaction I remember garnering from watching Pootie Tang. As
short as the movie is, it simply feels as if the filmmakers didn’t think of
any other option but to release an 80 minute sketch comedy and pray that
audiences would accept it. The movie crashed and burned hard in theaters. It’s
too bad, because the movie does contain a number of laughs in certain sections.
Even though this is clearly a movie that is not to be taken seriously by any
means, any comedy, no matter how loony or un-serious, still needs some kind of
arch or formula to work, and that’s what Pootie Tang lacks strongly.
The world of Pootie Tang began as a little sketch on
HBO’s wonderfully hysterical Chris Rock Show. Rock himself is credited
as one of the screenwriters of the movie, and in addition has multiple roles in
the movie. As sharp as Rock is in his stand up comedy, you’d think he would
add a bit more bite to this lame duck. Pootie’s caricature is that of a slick
urban jive talkin’ crime fighter. In the movie he’s presented in the same
mode, armed with a mean whippin’ belt as his weapon of defense and crusading
to rid the inner city of drugs, red meat, booze and cigarettes, which are all
made available to kids thanks to Lecter Corp., which is run by the ruthless Dick
Lecter (Robert Vaughn). Lecter devises a scheme to brainwash Pootie into
becoming exclusive property of his organization. Suddenly, Pootie finds himself
powerless against Lecter, as the villain as confiscated his belt.
There are bits in the movie that did make me laugh, such as
the early scene where Pootie takes on a drug gang by using his hair to dodge
bullets, and whacking thugs with his belt, which is shot in a funny stylized
way. Another hilarious bit comes when Pootie, a celebrity of many sorts, goes
into a studio to record a new song, which has no title and contains absolutely
no beat or words, and yet people can’t resist to dance to it. It’s one of
those jokes that can’t really be described, but just needs to be seen.
Funny moments do present themselves every so often in Pootie
Tang, but the movie needed a whole lot more in terms of content. I seriously
think that no single viewer will watch this movie and ponder for at least one
minute where the missing footage of the movie is, and why, if there was in fact
such footage, did it not make the final cut?
An overall acceptable
anamorphic transfer from Paramount. Picture quality for the most part is clear
and crisp, and complete with vibrant colors that render very well. There were, I
recall, a number of times when the image came off too bright and soft, but other
than that, a pretty grand presentation.
The same level of credit
goes to the audio department, as well. The 5.1 presentation offers a good enough
sound mix for a comedy, where in which the sound quality kicks in when the film
gears into action mode. The movie frequently contains upbeat hip hop music,
which also picks up tremendously well. A well rendered audio job from Paramount.
Just a trailer and a music
video for the song ‘Pootie Tangin’ by 702.
Pootie Tang is a questionable release because the way the finished film feels, which is that of a movie that was pretty much uncompleted, but it is good for a couple of big laughs.