Pootie Tang

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Pootie Tang
Pootie Tang poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Louis C.K.
Produced by Caldecot Chubb
David Gale
Ali LeRoi
Chris Rock
Written by Louis C.K.
Starring Lance Crouther
J. B. Smoove
Jennifer Coolidge
Wanda Sykes
Robert Vaughn
Chris Rock
Music by QD3
Prince Paul (Additional)
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • June 29, 2001 (2001-06-29)
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million[1]
Box office $3,313,583

Pootie Tang is a 2001 American comedy film written and directed by Louis C.K. It was adapted from a comedy sketch that first appeared on The Chris Rock Show.[2] The character Pootie Tang is a satire of the stereotyped characters who appeared in old blaxploitation films. The title character's speech, which vaguely resembles pidgin, is mostly unintelligible to the audience, but the other characters in the film have no problem understanding him.

Plot[edit]

Pootie Tang (Lance Crouther), born in "a small city outside Gary, Indiana", is portrayed as a ladies' man who is "too cool for words", even as a young child. His life is marked by the deaths of his mother "Momma Dee", and shortly thereafter his father "Daddy Tang" (Chris Rock), who dies after being mauled by a gorilla during his shift at the steel mill (the third time someone had suffered that particular fate). Just before Daddy Tang's death, Pootie inherits his father's belt and is told that (as long as he has right on his side) he can "whoop anyone's ass with just that belt."

As a young adult, Pootie Tang rises to fame and becomes well known for a variety of reasons. He sings in night clubs, stars in public service announcements for children, produces top-of-the-charts music hits, and generally defeats wrongdoers with the power of his belt. Dick Lecter (Robert Vaughn), the CEO of multi-industrial conglomerate LecterCorp, learns of Pootie Tang's positive influence on society — and his negative influence on LecterCorp's bottom line. After his henchmen and a vile villain named Dirty Dee (Reg E. Cathey) are sent away by Pootie's friends, Lecter encourages his right-hand lady, Ireenie (Jennifer Coolidge), to seduce Pootie Tang into signing an agreement with LecterCorp that would stop Pootie Tang's influence on America's children.

Pootie Tang falls for Ireenie's tricks and subsequently falls apart. His status as pop culture icon is destroyed, and he engages on a quest to "find [him]self". This journey is encouraged by Biggie Shortie (Wanda Sykes), who promises to wait for Pootie to return to her and to the rest of society. Pootie moves to a farm where the local sheriff decides Pootie and his daughter should start dating. After his single corn stalk dies, he has a vision of Daddy Tang and Momma Dee. Daddy Tang reveals that there is nothing special about Pootie's belt; instead, Pootie must fight evil with the goodness that is inside him. After dealing with Dirty Dee and his henchman Froggy (as well as getting his belt back), Pootie realizes he must move back to the city and fight crime once again.

Pootie Tang returns to the city just as Dick Lecter is unveiling the first of his new restaurant chain, Pootie's Bad Time Burgers. At a small news conference, Pootie confronts Lecter only to discover that Lecter has amassed dozens of "Pootie-alikes" (one being David Cross) who will spread the message of LecterCorp around the nation. Pootie Tang, with the help of Biggie Shortie, defeats all of these henchmen and Lecter himself. Good triumphs over evil once again, and Biggie Shortie finally gets her man: she and Pootie Tang plan to get married now that Pootie is back. Elsewhere, Dick Lecter leaves corporate life and becomes an actor, Ireenie leaves him and becomes a counselor helping at-risk teenage prostitutes, and Dirty Dee is still dirty.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Originally a Paramount Classics film titled Pootie Tang in Sine Your Pitty on the Runny Kine, the budget was increased and transferred to Paramount Pictures division.[3] C.K. has stated that he was all but fired from the film during the editing phase. According to him, Ali LeRoi was hired to extensively re-edit the film.[3] Openly agreeing with Roger Ebert's dismissive criticism that the movie should not have even been released, C.K. has said that the finished product, though containing parts he enjoyed, was far from his own vision.[4]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception was generally negative, with Rotten Tomatoes only gauging 29% positive reviews.[5] Roger Ebert gave it a one-half star rating, criticizing it for excessive use of vulgar language and demeaning portrayal of women, describing it as a "train wreck" and finishing his review by bluntly stating "This film is not in a releaseable condition".[6] Nathan Rabin at The Onion A.V. Club said Pootie Tang "borders on audience abuse" and "confuse[s] idiocy for absurdity and randomness for wit".[7] However, a few years later, fellow A.V. Club writer Scott Tobias revisited the film and included it in his New Cult Canon series, noting that "Pootie Tang repelled mainstream critics and audiences, but it holds an exalted status among alt-comedians and fans of subversive anti-comedy in general".[8]

Kevin Murphy also praised the film in his book A Year at the Movies:

Pootie Tang crosses all cultural barriers to become the dumbest movie I've seen in an entire generation. But it is also funny as hell...Pootie Tang strives for the dumbness it achieves, a feat few films can do...this is a good kind of dumb. Like mooning. Like a cat falling off a table.

[9]

Cultural references[edit]

  • At the end of the horror film spoof Scary Movie 3, the aliens claim they watched a cursed video tape that spurred their visits to Earth because they thought it was Pootie Tang. In the movie Scary Movie 4, many characters argue about this film.
  • In the TV show The Bernie Mac Show, Chris Rock (who appears in Pootie Tang) attends a poker game at Bernie Mac's house. A player remarks that he really enjoyed Pootie Tang, to which Rock replies that "even [his] momma didn't see Pootie Tang." Also in the episode "The Talk" Wanda's friend tells Bernie that she was in the video store and she saw Bernie on the cover of Pootie Tang. Bernie denies that he is who she saw, but she insists she is correct.
  • Fat Tony has the lyric "...and I make the coochies stang like I'm Pootie Tang" in his 2010 song "Luv It Mayne", also remixed by Das Racist.
  • In Kanye West's song, "School Spirit", off his album The College Dropout, he says "That's how dude became/the young Pootie Tang, Tippy Tow", imitating Pootie Tang's style of speech.
  • In Big Sean's album Finally Famous, in his song "Dance (Ass)", he says "Drop that ass, make it boomerang/ Take my belt off, bitch I'm Pootie Tang."
  • In Snoop Dogg's song "Bo$$ Playa" from his album Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss, he says "Holla at 'em Doggy Dogg, let him do his thing/Ok, Sa-da-tay, like my nigga Pootie Tang."
  • On the Comedy Central show Tosh.0, Rock appeared as a "Guest Host", eventually becoming so frustrated with the regular viral videos that he says he would rather "Shoot Pootie Tang 2" than do the show permanently.
  • Conan O'Brien said many times on his show that Pootie Tang is one of his favorite movie titles of all time.

Pootie Tangisms[edit]

Although Pootie Tang speaks in a completely unintelligible jive, everyone he meets seems to understand him. Here are some examples of his vocabulary. See wikiquote for a more complete list.

"Bammies." many interpretations and usages, yet usually refers to normal acquaintances
"Sa Da Tay." generally positive interpretations
"Wa Da Tah." many interpretations and usages, yet usually is a confirmation statement like "that's for sure!"
"Capatown." many interpretations and usages, yet in many instances means "Calm down now" in a friendly manner
"Don't bang the dillies!" Don't
"The Tipi Tais." generally accepted as "the kids"
"Dirty Dee, you're a baddy daddy lamatai tabby chai!" a threat, an insult, or both
"What's the Dabble Dee?" generally accepted as "What's the matter?"
"May I dane on the cherries, Mama T?" "Mother, would it be acceptable for me to have some more peas?"
"Main Damie." generally accepted as "Best Friend"
"Well Bob, I'm a pone tony." explains his achievement in many diverse fields
"I'm going to sine your pitty on the runny kine!" a warning to his enemies of impending punishment; also used to smooth-talk the ladies
"Ma Dilly." seems to refer to a female "Damie"; he refers to Biggie Shorty as his Dilly
"Nay-no" "no," as in "I gotta say the Nay-no, my brotha"
"Cole me down on the panny sty" Pootie's way of indicating complicity and friendship in his listener
"Cole me on the panny sty." Close to the above in sound, but gravely different in meaning. Cole me on the panny sty is insultingly nonsensical, as shown by the reaction of Bob Costas
"You ain't come one, but many tine tanies" Pootie's way of saying "You didn't just bring yourself, you brought your whole crew to back you up", implying cowardice towards his listener

Soundtrack[edit]

A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on June 16, 2001 by Hollywood Records. It peaked at #51 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and #22 on the Top Soundtracks.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pootie Tang at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Original Appearance in the Chris Rock Show". 
  3. ^ a b WTF with Marc Maron - Louis C.K. part 1
  4. ^ Scott Raab (2011-05-23). "Louis C.K.: The ESQ+A". Esquire. 
  5. ^ Pootie Tang at Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (2001-06-29). "Pootie Tang". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  7. ^ Rabin, Nathan (2002-03-29). "Pootie Tang". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  8. ^ Tobias, Scott (2009-07-23). "The New Cult Canon - Pootie Tang". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  9. ^ Murphy, Kevin. A Year at the Movies, HarperCollins, 2002, p.172. ISBN 0-06-093786-6

External links[edit]