Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring:||Storm P, Eve, Frankie Faison, Farrah Fawcett, Danny Glover|
|Producer:||Darryl “Latee” French, Mike Elliott|
|Distributor:||Lions Gate Films|
“This summer get your grill on.”
I love cookouts! It is one of my best childhood memories. My dad loved to fire up the grill and gather the family in the back yard or at the park. It was wonderful part of summer. I have enjoyed passing on this American tradition to my family. My oldest son not only wanted a cookout for his recent high school graduation, but enthusiastically planned most of the event. Yes, there were many times that we used a cookout as the centerpiece to a party that would symbolically declare the end of summer fun and the beginning of another school year. The release of “The Cookout” could certainly fit this place on the release calendar. It could have been a fun and humorous way to end a busy cinematic summer. Unfortunately, there is absolutely NO reason to get fired up over this debut effort by Director Lance Rivera.
This movie is not a fresh family picnic! It is FULL of spoiled leftovers that someone warmed up one too many times. Where is the visual health department when you need it to shut this release down? It is FULL of several moral code violations. This film is almost as offensive as the release of “White Chicks.” Once again we must painfully watch an ensemble comedy try to get laughs from stereotypical African-American traditions. “The Cookout” does toss some well-intentioned family-values in the mix, but the message is quickly spoiled by the entire offensive, crude and dumb plot toppings.
The story is built around a basketball player named Todd Anderson (Storm P). Todd finds himself a first-round NBA draft pick for his hometown team the New Jersey Nets. His parents couldn’t be more proud and now have a reason to fire up the grill and celebrate their son’s newfound fame.
Meanwhile, Todd begins his career by spending his 30 million dollars that he has not earned. He buys a Hummer, gifts for his parents and what spending spree would not be complete without a lot in the Garden Ridge Estates. Yes, film fans, quicker than you can say “The Jeffersons,” the Anderson’s are movin’ on up! Queen Latifah guards our gated community.
It isn’t long before this mostly white neighborhood begins to react to those from the brotherhood. Garden Ridge does telegraph more racism into the plot by adding a bi-racial couple played by Farrah Fawcett and (you can do better) Danny Glover. The rest of the film is NO picnic. It isn’t long before more stereotypes show up. You know the list: ghetto thugs, hillbillies and potheads, OH! My! Let’s not forget Todd’s gold-digging girlfriend (Eve) who is that typical blend of sexy and obnoxious.
My very strong advice is to skip this one. I didn’t find a single reputable critic that recommended this either. This is a painful film to watch (even for Spike Lee). I do hope that there is NOT a “Cookout 2.”
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate