Pootie Tang

Played by Lance Crouther and born on The Chris Rock Show, the title character uses his celebrity status to warn children against the products of LecterCorp—a company that makes everything from cigarettes to switchblades. But then CEO Robert Vaughn finds his Achilles' heel and turns Pootie into a ringing endorser. This loving, lilting parody of action-hero vehicles (2001) uses self-reflexive humor consistently—the premise that we're watching a clip of Pootie's new movie during a talk-show interview doesn't just get dropped. Pootie—whose talents range far beyond acting, singing, and dodging bullets and women—speaks a dialect all his own, and the shtick based on whether other people understand him is subtle enough for 79 minutes. He's also deeply compassionate; unless his love would, say, help improve a woman's low self-esteem, those who throw themselves at him are dismissed with responsible condescension—and a tricky sense of humor. Written and directed by Louis C.K.; with Wanda Sykes and Chris Rock.

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