Case Number 04682: Small Claims Court

BOOTY CALL: THE BOOTIEST EDITION

Sony // 1997 // 79 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Treadway (Retired) // June 28th, 2004

The Charge

All new bootylicious features!

The Case

Once upon a time in the early years of DVD, there was a release of the raunchy 1997 comedy Booty Call. This edition was somewhat lacking. There were no extras, and the widescreen image was a mess. What was a Booty Call fan to do? There was no other option...until now! Columbia has upgraded the previous edition, so much so that it is now known as The Bootiest Edition!

Rushon (Tommy Davidson, Juwanna Mann) and his best friend Bunz (Jamie Foxx, Ali) are polar opposites. While Rushon likes to take his time to develop a relationship, Bunz is on a never-ending quest for one thing: booty. Bunz constantly pressures Rushon into taking things further. On one fateful night, Rushon arranges a double date for Bunz. The lucky gals: Rushon's girlfriend Nikki (Tamala Jones, Head of State) and her best friend Lysterine (Vivica A. Fox, Kill Bill: Vol. 1). The dinner is a disaster, but by the end of the evening things have turned around enough for Rushon and Bunz to return to the ladies' apartment. A round of tiddlywinks is not in the cards. Bunz and Lysterine are ready to partake of some sexual healing, but Rushon hits a roadblock: Nikki insists on a condom. What should be a simple errand then becomes a series of manic complications culminating at a hospital.

Booty Call should not be mistaken for great art. If you are easily offended by jokes involving sexual functions and behaviors, dental dams, Saran Wrap, testicular operations, and condom-munching dogs, this is not the film for you. Those of you still in the room, you could do worse than rent Booty Call. In fact, the film is one of the funniest comedies ever made about that age-old favorite of people everywhere: sex. The screenplay by Takeshi Bufford and Bootsie Parker understands the cardinal rule of comedy: unless your name is Billy Wilder, keep it lean. They don't preoccupy themselves with plot. Instead, they take their characters and string them along in a wacky series of gags. What's amazing about Booty Call is that it actually cares about the characters. Most comedies revel in low gags designed to humiliate and shame. While those feelings are present in Booty Call, Bufford and Parker remember to add the human touch to their screenplay. Plus the jokes are simply hilarious. I haven't laughed so hard at a raunchy comedy since...well, I can't remember!

Director Jeff Pollack maintains a brisk pace and light tone. What made the later Farrelly brothers films such disappointments is that they were overlong and often cruel without being breezy. This film doesn't overstay its welcome and feels just right. What cements the deal is the casting. Tommy Davidson and Jamie Foxx are both veterans of the classic television series In Living Color, so we know their comedy credentials are sound. However, both are adept at providing moments of tenderness and wit, rare in a gross-out comedy. I have never been a big fan of Vivica A. Fox's work, but I must admit she does a good job with a seemingly impossible role. Tamala Jones is sweet and charming as Nikki; again, it's rare to see a performance like this in a raunchy comedy.

Previously the film was available only in a dual full frame and anamorphic widescreen edition, but here at last is a new transfer worthy of the film. The brand-new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks terrific. The previous edition was plagued with pixilation, due to poor compression. The new transfer has none of those problems. Grain was often heavy in the previous edition. Now the image is exceptionally sharp, with only some light grain and slight defects preventing me from pronouncing it flawless.

Audio is also much improved from the previous release. That disc contained a muddy Dolby digital 2.0 stereo mix. For The Bootiest Edition, Columbia has upgraded the sound to Dolby digital 5.1 surround. With the exception of the occasional crackle, this sound mix is sensational. It's a shame that Columbia doesn't do quality work such as this more often.

While the extras seem light compared to other special editions, there are enough worthwhile supplements to keep the most devoted Booty Call fan satisfied. The main feature is a commentary track featuring director Jeff Pollack, producer John Morrissey, and writer Takeshi Bufford. It's a brisk, entertaining talk that is better than most group commentaries I've heard. There is some good detail here, but the main virtue of the track is its amiability. The film's original ending, cut from the film for unknown reasons, has been included as a supplement. It actually should have remained in the final cut, as it provides the perfect coda to a wacky, raunchy comedy.

A brief featurette, "Smooth Operator," is the perfect supplement to the commentary track. This featurette includes comments from the cast, all of whom were MIA from the commentary. Rounding out The Bootiest Edition are the film's original theatrical trailer and trailers for other Columbia releases.

$19.95 may seem like a steep price at first. However, you should consider that many barebones and disgusting full frame Columbia discs sell for the same price. The nearly perfect transfer and some worthwhile extras make Booty Call: The Bootiest Edition a relative bargain by comparison. If you shop around, you might be able to find this disc for less than twenty bucks.

Columbia has done such good work on The Bootiest Edition that I am almost inclined to forgive their prior mistakes. Note that the key word is almost. As for all other parties, I find them not guilty of the charges brought against them.

Bailiff, bring on the next victim -- er, I mean, defendant.

Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Treadway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 89

Perp Profile
Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)

Subtitles:
* English
* French

Running Time: 79 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Feature Commentary with Director Jeff Pollack, Producer John Morrissey, and Writer Takeshi Bufford
* Alternate Ending
* "Smooth Operator" Featurette
* Theatrical Trailers

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0118750/combined