You may laugh at 'Booty Call,' but you'll wish you hadn't

February 26, 1997|By John Anderson | John Anderson,NEWSDAY

What is the true meaning of love? What is the true meaning of manhood? What do women really want? Can men, especially when they're bonding like the herd animals they are, ever drop their macho facades and treat their lovers with the sensitivity and respect that they truly deserve?

And, most important, will they be getting any tonight?

These are the burning questions posed by "Booty Call," which wins the prize for least-subtle title of the year, and has a movie to match. Two male friends in hot pursuit of sexual relief run up against two female friends with their own ideas about courtship, class and safe sex. We've seen this kind of thing before, of course. We've just rarely seen it stripped down to its essence with such industrial efficiency.

Playing the four young urbanites are four very talented people. Jamie Foxx ("The Jamie Foxx Show"), who plays the in-your-face, anatomically obsessed Bunz, and Tommy Davidson ("Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls"), who's the far more refined Rushon, are both graduates of "In Living Color" and are gifted comedians. Likewise, Vivica A. Fox ("Independence Day") and Tamala Jones (TV's "Dangerous Minds"), who play the upwardly mobile Lysterine and the sexually conservative Nikki and are quite capable of holding their own against the rapid-fire repartee of their co-stars.

But as the four wend their way through a night of cliched mishaps, New York stereotypes and the search for the perfect condom, the relentless humiliation visited upon the couples becomes more than a bit tiresome.

Basically, Bunz and Rushon are derided for being male; sexual desperation isn't a pretty thing. Lysterine and Nikki are depicted as harpies for insisting on some very basic bedroom precautions that the men should have taken care of beforehand.

Stupidity isn't all that funny. Neither are ethnic jokes, which are tossed off casually and somewhat cruelly. They all come under the abuse umbrella of "Booty Call." It's not that the movie is never funny. It's just that you don't feel very good when it is.

'Booty Call'

Starring Tommy Davidson, Tamala Jones, Jamie Foxx, Vivica A. Fox

Directed by Jeff Pollack

Released by Sony

Rated R (sex, partial nudity, vulgarity, adult situations)

Sun score: * 1/2

Pub Date: 2/26/97

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