Run time: 81 mins
In Theaters: Friday 29th June 2001
Box Office USA: $2.8M
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 30
IMDB: 5.1 / 10
Director: Louis C.K.
Screenwriter: Louis C.K.
Starring: Jennifer Coolidge as Ireenie, Lance Crouther as Pootie Tang, J. B. Smoove as Trucky, Reg E. Cathey as Dirty Dee, Robert Vaughn as Dick Lecter, Wanda Sykes as Biggie Shorty, Chris Rock as JB / Radio DJ / Pootie's Father, Mario Joyner as Lacey, Cathy Trien as Stacy, Laura Kightlinger as Anchor Woman, Dave Attell as Frank, Rick Shapiro as Shakey, Christopher Wynkoop as Sheriff, J.D. Williams as Froggy, Qiana Drew as Singing Lady, Lorria Richards as Singing Lady, Andy Richter as Record Executive, Kristen Bell as Record Executive's Daughter, Cole Hawkins as Little Pootie, Tara Jeffers as Solo Girl Singer
I cannot remember any other movie without subtitles that creates a language for its characters, but never teaches it to the audience. The main character in Pootie Tang utters phrases like "I'm gonna sine your pitty on the runny kine" and "Sipi-tai!" But what does that mean? Not that it matters -- you won't even try to follow this hopeless, incoherent story. Instead I wondered about the cologne on the man next to me, if that lovely cashier was wearing a wig, and what I needed at the store later that night. Anything to clear my mind from the painful occurrences transpiring on screen.
Adapted from a comedy sketch on HBO's The Chris Rock Show, a major motion picture should have been the perfect platform for the nest of talent at the acclaimed Rock, but these filmmakers prove, like the folks at SNL do every other week, that a five-minute, one-character TV sketch just doesn't transfer to the big screen. Pootie Tang is just over 70 minutes long, shorter than your average Pokemon movie. And I would rather watch all the Pokemon movies, back to back, than waste my time watching this production for a second time.
Here's the painful setup: We first learn that the entire movie we are about to watch is actually a movie clip playing on a talk show featuring an immensely popular celebrity named, you guessed it, Pootie Tang (Lance Crouther). Pootie Tang is an African-American, an international crime fighter, a kung-fu master, a superstar singer, and an actor. Children adore him. Women idolize him. He speaks in a language of his own (Pootie-nese, if you will). Everyone in the movie understands him, but the audience can only follow occasional remarks. He uses his late father's belt to eliminate crime. (A terrible accident killed Pootie's father back in the late 70's when a wild gorilla mauled him to death while he was working in a factory. We can literally see the zipper on the gorilla costume.) We witness all kinds of incidences in a corny, maundering, sarcastic style that is just not funny.
Even bad movies usually contain a few redeeming factors, but not this one. Each and every shot is agonizing in its own ways -- not just in one way, in many ways -- the fanatical actors appear disjointed, the painful scene transitions feel awkward, the terrible dialogue wreaks of desperation, the poorly written screenplay seems unfinished, the soundtrack gives us a headache. Pootie Tang stinks as badly as possible. Regardless of how much you paid to get in, it's worth double to get out.