Pootie Tang, originally released theatrically in the summer of 2001, was written and directed by Louis C.K. Starring in the film are Lance Crouther (Pootie Tang), Wanda Sykes (Biggie Shorty), J.B. Smoove (Trucky), Robert Vaughn (Dick Lecter), Jennifer Coolidge (Ireenie), and Chris Rock (JB, Daddy Tang). The film stems from the original Pootie Tang sketches that appeared on The Chris Rock Show.
Pootie Tang is a singer/dancer/actor/superhero who uses a magic belt to unleash justice on evildoers and speaks a street lingo that is near indecipherable as he's "too cool for words." Many people love and respect Pootie, and to his community, he's a role model. He starts a public service announcement campaign, determined to persuade kids to avoid liquor, cigarettes, and fast food. His PSAs are effective, cutting into the profits of Corporate America. In response, Dick Lecter, CEO of LecterCorp, is determined to ruin Pootie's reputation by using his image to sell harmful products. To accomplish this, he discovers Pootie's one weakness and uses it to steal his magic belt. Now Pootie must find a way to regain his confidence and his belt so he can beat Lecter down.
Even though the Pootie Tang sketches on The Chris Rock Show were mildly amusing, I had serious doubts concerning a movie. Following in the tradition of many Saturday Night Live sketches that became movies, Pootie Tang is mostly a disappointment. There are some laughs here and there, but the main gag of Pootie's incomprehensible speech gets tired quickly. It doesn't help that the supporting characters (JB, Trucky, Lacey, Biggie Shorty) contribute very little to the film. Pootie Tang feels too long as well, though it has a running time of only 81 minutes. Despite all this, Crouther does translate the Pootie Tang character to the big screen adequately, so if there are major fans of the sketches out there, they should definitely give the film a look.
Pootie Tang is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for widescreen TVs. The transfer, for the most part, is clean with very few flaws. There are specks throughout that appear occasionally, as well as some noticeable grain. Colors are bright and vibrant throughout, with natural flesh tones and deep blacks.
Pootie Tang is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround. As with many dialogue driven films, the sound in the 5.1 track is mainly anchored to the front channels, with the rears providing ambient noise. The music keeps the track fairly active and provides some bass occasionally. Dialogue throughout is crisp and clean with no distortion. Optional subtitles are available in English.
Extras include the film's trailer and the Pootie Tangin' music video by 702.
Paramount has delivered Pootie Tang on DVD with an above average presentation, though the extras are slim and the MSRP is high. Fans of the Pootie Tang sketches on The Chris Rock Show should give the film a look, though a rental is definitely recommended before a purchase. Rent it.