by David Cornelius
It was probably a good idea at the time: a cartoon about a sweet redheaded boy, resembling one of those kids from “Family Circus,” hanging out with a bevy of macked-out pimps and cleavage-overloaded hookers. And maybe it worked in tiny bits, as the premise became a series of Internet shorts. But as a full length film? Well, it turns out there’s a good reason “Lil’ Pimp” sat on studio shelves for two whole years before finally getting dumped as a direct-to-video title.At a mind-numbing 80 minutes, “Lil’ Pimp,” created entirely with Micromedia Flash by writer/directors Mark Brooks and Peter Gilstrap, fails with every frame to be a “South Park” for the hip-hop set. The film gets all the crudeness and offensiveness that the Colorado boys have to offer, but it misses the mark comedywise; Brooks and Gilstrap apparently think that being offensive is enough, forgetting that there is a careful difference between the crude and the crudely funny.
"All the crudeness of South Park, but without the laughs."
Example: Adorable eight-year-old Lil’ Pimp (pet peeve side note: it’s supposed to be “li’l,” not “lil’,” but hey, whatever) carries a foul-mouthed gerbil (looks more like a ferret, but he’s a gerbil, so again, whatever) in the front pocket of his overalls. The pet, named Weathers (and voiced by Ludacris with trying-as-hard-as-he-can-to-make-this-funny desperation), pops out of the pocket every now and then to say something “funny.” These remarks include a retort on being lactose intolerant (“That don’t mean I’m bitch intolerant!!”) and seeing large breasts (“One small step for man, two giant titties for me!!!”), and yeah, it’s even less funny than it reads.
There are moments where you see where this could have gone right, such as the introduction of “pimp glitter” as some magical, Disney-esque fairy dust, only with prostitution. Here’s something that could’ve turned this whole mess into a giddy parody of pimp culture. Instead, it’s wasted on a script that doesn’t really know where to go, instead tossing lame one-liners at us.
(Oh, it does stop now and then to give us overly detailed pole dances by cartoon whores. These moments are remarkably unsexy and unfunny, and yet I can’t help thinking of the lonely animator who spent months in his mom’s basement trying to get the cartoon on his iMac to “work it.” There are moments here that come straight from the heart of somebody who really, really, really needs to get laid.)
And then there’s the cast. It takes a lot to feature Bernie Mac, William Shatner, and John C. McGinley and still not be funny, but “Lil’ Pimp” manages to pull it off. Brooks and Gilstrap try everything they can to strain a laugh, yet nothing works. They’re missing the bizarre comedy of exaggeration. Or maybe they’re missing the snappy rhythm of a well-timed joke. Or maybe... well, whatever it is, there’s just nothing funny here, even with such comic talent attempting to salvage the material.What we get with “Lil’ Pimp” is something that wants to be hilariously dirty yet is only obnoxious. Watching the filmmakers stretch for every gag becomes irritating. Maybe this one should’ve never strayed outside the confines of the Internet short. Those things only run about sixty seconds, and that’s exactly when “Lil’ Pimp” runs out of steam.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11438&reviewer=392
originally posted: 01/13/05 05:22:10