Monday, May 2, 2016

Pootie Tang (2001) - David Cross #13

Director: Louis C. K.
Runtime: 81 minutes

Pootie Tang is based on a sketch from the Chris Rock show, a parody of blaxploitation films, starring the eponymous Pootie (Lance Crouther), an actor, musician, and role model for all children, who fights crime with the power of his daddy's belt which can "whoop anyone's ass." Pootie, who was born too cool for words and speaks in a bizarre slang of his own making, has made an enemy of corporate America, especially LecterCorp CEO Dick Lecter (Richard Vaughn) who plots to steal Pootie's belt and turn Pootie into a shill for LecterCorp's products.  With the help of his friends (including characters played by Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes) Pootie must fight off Lecter and his henchmen, (including future The Wire star J.D. Williams).

Pootie Tang's reputation precedes it, and rightly so.  The pacing was all over the place, the plot jumped around haphazardly, characters appear and disappear without warning.  Which would seem odd, considering that the movie was written and directed by none other than Louis "Louie" C. K.  But as Louie has explained in interviews, he was removed from the project in the editing stage and had no say over the final product.  Yet the final product is still bizarrely fascinating.  The film has a cult following and much of it seems like something that could be made for Adult Swim.  The film isn't so bad it's good, because there were too many talented people working on it at some point or other.  Rather, it's so dumb that it completely removes itself from comparison to other films.  I can completely understand someone hating this movie, but it's strangely engrossing. That said, I still give it one star, because it is a very stupid movie, whose particular brand of stupidity happens to resonate with me.


The Cross Section:

David Cross plays Dennis:

Dennis is one of the actors hired by Dick Lecter as part of his plan to co-opt Pootie's fame and influence by producing his own legion of Pootie Tangs.  He shows up twice in the film, once as part of a training video for prospective Pooties, and again at the opening of the flagship Pootie Burger.  This is a great character for Cross, a nerdy white wannabe actor trying to play a guy who's too cool for words.  I can't help but imagine the blackface scene from Silver Streak as his origin story.


Cross has one brief appearance and one solid scene.  People have won Oscars with less screentime.


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