The Cookout Movie Review
Poking fun at the stupidity that ensues when a young athlete signs his first big contract and the typical fish-out-of-water story of black people in a white man's community, "The Cookout" features a mildly impressive cast who has the potential to make something of it all. Unfortunately, "The Cookout" isn't funny.
"The Cookout" looks at Todd Anderson (Quran Pender), a young black man who has just been signed as the #1 draft pick for the NBA. Facing a $30 million contract, he foolishly starts buying everything and anything, including a mansion. As he works with his agent to develop some promotional deals, he must also deal with his large, extended family who continues to show up for their annual cookout. Suddenly, Todd realizes he has more "friends" than he ever knew, but should he turn his back on people who were loyal to him or risk jeopardizing his newfound fame?
I hate to stereotype movies, especially racially-oriented movies, but I must admit that most goofy African American comedies of this sort are plain out bad. Do black people really like this crap, or do the studios just think black people are stupid enough to swallow it? "The Cookout" isn't nearly as bad as some, but it still lacks much in the way of clever humor. The movie is nothing more than an ensemble of several slightly-recognizable celebrities who adhere to the black stereotype in many ways and forms.
There are a few funny moments. Queen Latifah is mildly funny as the community's security guard. Funniest is Danny Glover, who plays a black man (of course) who thinks he's white. One of the earlier scenes where a couple of reporters ask Todd about his newfound fame is also pretty good, as one of the reporters continues to ask him about his family's drug problems, problematic marriage and life in the hood, even though they are a happy, middle-class family.
Unfortunately, there aren't enough jokes to fill a Post-It note. The movie isn't poorly done and features some interesting characters, but lacks any cohesion or focus that could capitalize on its potential. The entire story is just bland and uninteresting.
"The Cookout" has a moment here and there, but it's one of the dullest comedies I've ever seen.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.