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'Pootie' Tanks

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 29, 2001


    'Pootie Tang' Lance Crouther stars in "Pootie Tang."
(Paramount Pictures)
"Pootie Tang" is a wretch-a-sketch, a two-minute character-based skit (an occasional feature on HBO's "The Chris Rock Show") stretched to a mind-boggling 82 minutes.

Pootie (Lance Crouther) is in the tradition of Chewbacca, Mushmouth and Kenny – somehow people understand him even though he speaks in a mumbled mess of made-up slang.

A part-time crime fighter and rap star who has somehow become a hero and role model for da youngstas, Pootie and his magic belt battle corporate evil, embodied by CEO Dick Lecter (poor Robert Vaughn) who wants kids to become addicted to his company's fast food, cigarettes and alcohol.

Limited hilarity ensues as the film sends up gangsta rap videos, kung fu flicks and '70s blaxploitation films, though it's mostly absent what might pass for wit in the Wayans world.

Populated with idiot cameos (Bob Costas, call your agent – and fire him!) and half-baked caricatures (Wanda Sykes as Biggy Shorty, and Chris Rock himself in several guises), "Pootie Tang" is hysterical without ever being particularly funny. Writer-director Louis C.K. worked on Rock's show, where Crouther and Sykes were longtime writers and collaborators.

"Pootie Tang" (PG-13, 82 minutes) – Contains sexual innuendo, language and drug content. Area theaters.


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