While he may have lost some of his street credibility after appearing on television hocking Chryslers with Lee Iacocca on the golf course, Snoop Dogg proves he can still keep it real by starring in this bizarre modern day blaxploitation drama with musical interludes directed by Pook Brown.
When the movie begins, Cordé Christopher (Snoop) is sitting in jail. Soon his lawyer shows up. After he's done hitting on her and daydreaming about dancing girls with fresh panties, we learn how he got there through a few flashback scenes. You see, way back when, Cordé was a grocery clerk who was always getting into trouble with his boss at work as he had a much better eye for the hotties than he did for the produce he was assigned to.
Fed up with his dead end job, Cordé wants to make some real coin and start living the easy life. He wants the American Dream, he tells his buddies. He's tired of rounding up shopping carts and stacking vegetables. As fate would have it, one night while out cleaning up the parking lot he meets an old school pimp named Orange Juice (Hawthorne James) who realizes how much game Cordé. After giving him a speech about pimping, Orange Juice decides it's time for Cordé to step up his game to the major leagues and start pimping on his own. It almost seems like an answer to his prayers. Orange Juice is successful in convincing Cordé that pimpin' is the life for him, and Cordé basically decides to come on board and learn the ropes so that Orange Juice can act as a mentor and teacher to him.
From here we get to check out Snoop's moves. We see him mackin' fly hunnies at the grocery store, taking ladies out on the town, and rapping about how he wants to be inside his lady friend and smoke the odd doobie or two with her through some more bizarre musical numbers. Finally Cordé quits his job at the grocery store, calls his boss a big fat Luther Vandross lookin' motherfucker, and hits the streets to find his calling. He bangs a girl then goes to hang out with Orange Juice to learn the tricks of the trade. Through some wise advice from Orange Juice, Cordé makes his way up to the top of the pimping ladder. He gets himself some big floppy hats, plenty of scantily clad ladies, and a fancy fur coat and he sets out to make his fortune. Unfortunately for him, seeing as he starts off the movie in jail, it doesn't stay bitches and money for long and some of the competing pimps in town aren't taking too kindly to Cordé's new found success.
Obviously influenced by Superfly, Pook Brown's Boss'N Up is a slick and stylish movie that takes itself just seriously enough to work. The movie has got plenty of style, a great pumpin' soundtrack that accentuates the action nicely, and a cool as a cucumber lead performance from Snoop. The movie has a pretty clever sense of humor in spots and while it's not really going to win any awards for originality in the script department (it plays out like one of Snoop's songs, but maybe that's the point) it is definitely an entertaining film from start to finish and it's not dull for a second.
Pook has the good sense to fill his film with enough skin and enough trash talking dialogue that the pacing feels nice and tight. On a visual level, the film is actually pretty damned impressive, with some stellar cinematography, great lighting, and flashy costumes. The scene where Cordé makes his way to the players' ball is a prime example, as the cameras capture all of the flamboyant costumes and classy hoes in the room with ample amounts of style and class.
Boss'N Up almost feels like the movie that Rudy Ray Moore was trying to make with Dolemite, as it has some similar themes and the same sense of over the top theatrics. It doesn't have the same 'wow, am I really watching this?' quality that Moore's movies do, but it's not too far off, especially in terms of rhyming dialogue, the incessant and colorful use of the word 'bitch' (I swear, that word is used more than any other word in this film) and the way that the leads handle their ladies. Watch for rapper Lil' John in a small supporting role, helping Snoop with his army of pit-bull bitches as his meteoric rise to pimp superstardom starts to really take off (towards the end of the movie they even combine their considerable talents in another musical number). It's all kind of like a Chappelle's Show sketch come to life.
Boss'N Up looks pretty good on DVD, which makes it all the more of upsetting that the transfer isn't anamorphic. The color reproduction is solid, however, and the black levels are nice and strong. The opening scene with the cars zipping past under the streetlights looks nice and moody and there's a decent level of both foreground and background detail. Unfortunately there's some heavy edge enhancement present in more than a couple of scenes, which proves to be a bit distracting. Not a perfect transfer, but not a bad one despite some flaws.
Check out the movie in either an English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix or in a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. Both sound quite good, though some scenes are, surprisingly enough, a little too bass heavy in spots. The music also gets a little loud here and there. Otherwise, the movie sounds very good with strong and clear dialogue and some nice channel separation in some spots that makes certain scenes really come to life on your home theater setup.
First up is a commentary track with Snoop Dogg and the director of the film, Pook Brown. Snoop spends a lot of time talking about how tight the movie is and basically 'pimping his own shit' which is kind of in keeping with his character from the film, amusingly enough. Pook tries to fill is in on some information pertaining to the making of the film but it doesn't always work out that way and a lot of it is self-congratulatory. On the other hand, these guys seem to have had a good time working together and they have an obviously fun relationship that does come through. The track isn't that informative, and there is a bit too much dead air, but hey, it's Snoop.
A slide show is up next. It's set to some of the music from the film and it plays out over three minutes. Most of the images are of Snoop and a lot of them are from the Player's Ball scene, but there are a few interesting candid shots in here to check out.
The DVD also includes some musical performances and videos. The live performances are for Drop It Like It's Hot and Let's Get Blown and they were recorded at a Snoop concert in Dublin, Ireland. Combined, the two songs run about eleven minutes and they're of decent enough quality even if there are some compression artifacts showing up here and there. Promo videos are also included for three songs: Drop It Like It's Hot, Let's Get Blown and Get 2 Know Ya.
The DVD also comes packaged with an audio CD that contains the following tracks:
Get 2 Know Ya by Snoop Dogg and Jellyroll
Drop It Like It's Hot (Remix) by Snoop Dogg, Jay Z and Pharrell
No Sticks, No Seeds By Snoop Dogg and Wyann Vaughn
Shake That Shit by Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Foxx and Young Walt
An insert containing the ten chapter stops for the film can be found inside the keepcase, and the DVD contains some nice animated menus set to music from the film's score.
Well, as silly as aspects of this movie are, it's definitely an entertaining picture. Snoop seems into playing the pimp on screen and while most of the time he's more or less playing himself from the looks of things, he does show some range. The production values are decent and while the audio and video wasn't perfect, they're decent, as are the extras. Boss'N Up is recommended for Snoop Dogg fans, and would make an alright rental for everyone else.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.