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Movie Review: Pootie Tang

Review for 'Pootie Tang'
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Pootie Tang
Running Time: 81 min
MPAA rating: PG-13 (Adult Language, Adult Situations)
Release Date: 2001-06-29
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By "Chicago Tribune"

Remember Mushmouth, the syllabically challenged cartoon character on "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids"? Well, if he had grown up and been given his own movie, he'd be Pootie Tang: recording artist, movie star, lover and kung-fu protector of children everywhere. Instead, Lance Crouther stars as the title crime fighter in "Pootie Tang," but he is just as two-dimensional and cartoony.
No one understands a word he says, and after 78 minutes no one cares. Writer-director Louis C.K. created Pootie as a sketch character for HBO's "The Chris Rock Show." Rock himself plays three minor roles (Pootie's Father, crew member JB and a DJ), stealing every scene he is in. But these few laughs aren't enough to bring life to this one-joke pony.
A champion of healthy living, Pootie Tang is reducing big-business profits with his positive messages and public-service announcements. Evil corporate CEO Dick Lecter (Robert Vaughn) won't take this sitting down and devises a plot to make Pootie a spokesman for his line of cigarettes, malt liquor, mace and Pork Chunks cereal.
Like the Biblical Samson, Pootie's strength lies in his belt, which gives him the power to whup anyone. His one weakness: trashy women, in this case Ireenie ("American Pie's" Jennifer Coolidge), sent by Lecter to topple the hip-hop superhero.
Pootie's best friend, Trucky (JB Smoove), serves as the film's narrator, occasionally stopping the narrative with "Wait, stop the movie!" and other clever remarks. Meanwhile, Pootie gives interviews to Bob Costas, fights dirt-caked drug pusher Dirty Dee (Reg E. Cathey) and releases blank, totally silent records to millions of adoring fans. He keeps the positivity "real" with gems of wisdom like "Sa da tay" and "Sin yor pity on the runny kine" or some such nonsense.
Slow and dragging, "Pootie Tang" is worse than a below-average sketch-to-screen "Saturday Night Live" film (see "A Night at the Roxbury," "It's Pat" or "Stuart Saves His Family") and doesn't even rise to the level of blaxploitation parody like "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka." As a character Pootie has little range, and his faux-cool ramblings just get annoying.
"Chris Rock Show" veterans Crouther and Wanda Sykes can't bring this comedy out of sketchville, and only Rock himself provides any real humor. Pootie may be able to deflect bullets with his ponytail, seduce ladies from behind a wispy mustache and spank villains (literally) in the street but he can't breath life into a single scene in this cinematic purgatory.
"Pootie Tang"
Directed by Louis C.K.; written by Louis C.K.; edited by Doug Abel and David Lewis Smith; production designed by Amy Silver; produced by Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Michael Rotenberg, David Gale, Caldecot Chubb. A Paramount Pictures release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:18. PG-13 (sex-related material, language and drug content).
Pootie Tang Lance Crouther
Pootie's Father/JB Chris Rock
Ireenie Jennifer Coolidge
Dick Lecter Robert Vaughn
Biggie Shorty Wanda Sykes
Record Executive Andy Ritcher
Trucky JB Smoove

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(no rating) Dec 18, 2008 - Chicago Tribune

No one understands a word he says, and after 78 minutes no one cares. Writer-director Louis C.K. created Pootie as a sketch character for HBO's "The Chris Rock Show." Rock himself plays three minor roles (Pootie's Father, crew member JB and a DJ), stealing every scene he is in. But these few laughs aren't enough to bring life to this one-joke pony.

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