In the convention of the ‘70’s blaxploitation flicks (“Coffy,” “Foxy Brown”), with hero bad asses and villain pimps, is Pootie Tang (Lance Crouther), a retro “super”-hero whose power resides in that of buckled-belt (“As long as you’ve got right on your side, you can whoops anyone’s ass with that belt”) and whose only Kryptonite is that of hoes.Pootie must do battle with an evil corporate schmuck, Dick Lecter (who sells Lecter Burgers, among many other things) along with other villains or sidekicks that sound like their names are parodies of rappers (i.e., Dirty Dee as opposed to Heavy D; Biggie Shorty as opposed to Biggie Smalls, etc.). The running gag of Pootie’s belt-whipping defense (and the reverse shot of him looping it back up), or his non-sensical speech (“I’m gonna sine your pitty on the runny kine” or “Say ‘sa da tai’ and feel OK,” etc.) wear thin after the first time, and they are what make up the meat of this vegetarian project. The ghettoized, imposter Austin Powers doesn’t have the cleverness or appeal that the groovy polyamorous Myers-vehicle does, and how this sketch from “The Chris Rock Show” ever found its way to the big screen is a mystery to me. It matches the style and quality of those old blaxploitation movies that it’s emulating —but that isn’t a compliment. The attempts at humor are all weakly drawn and unhumorously executed. The idea of this movie is more like a bad joke-come-true, but its stupidity outweighs its novelty. Junk like this is but another setback and strike against what serious filmmakers like John Singleton are trying to do. “Pootie Tang” doesn’t deserve to be released in the same week as “Baby Boy,” let alone any other time. And at a time where the MPAA is being so strict on every little thing, how is it that this (along with “What’s the Worst That Can Happen?,” and “The Fast and the Furious”) can get away with a PG-13, while something like “The Princess and the Warrior” gets slapped with an R?
With Wanda Sykes, Jennifer Coolidge, Reg E. Cathey, Robert Vaughn, cameos by Missy Elliott, Andy Richter, Bob Costas, who I believe was Anna “Scary Movie” Faris, and several roles by Chris Rock. Written and directed by Louis C.K.Final Verdict: D-.