Lightyear Entertainment // 2009 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // April 24th, 2009
From Hot Clubs to Hot Irons.
I've just spent 20 minutes looking up the myriad uses for the apostrophe on Wikipedia. Since this isn't a grammar blog, the curious reader might wonder what bearing this little tidbit has on the film before us, Da' Booty Shop. I have two reasons. First, the observant reader will immediately notice the apostrophe that follows Da in the title, and I can assure you it struck me when I saw the cover art for this release. Before hitting Wikipedia, I knew that the most common uses for an apostrophe were to show possession and to show that something has been deleted from a word. Neither seemed to be the case with Da', so I double checked all the various uses of the apostrophe (in English and other languages). After diligent research, I could find absolutely no excuse for the apostrophe in Da' Booty Shop. As you may have guessed, my second reason for searching was to avoid having to talk about the film.
Da' Booty Shop is the story of Yolanda (Trina McGee, Friday After Next), a stripper who's younger brother lands in jail (yet again), leaving her in charge of his hair salon. Yolanda is eager to sell the property and gets a nice offer, but at the last minute decides that stripping might not be a career with the greatest longevity. This leads her to renege on the offer, instead setting up shop at the hair salon with some of her former stripper coworkers. Shenanigans ensue, as the buyer is still interested in the property, and the women must deal with a pile of unpaid bills and back taxes.
Let me lay it out for you: Da' Booty Shop is Queen Latifah's Beauty Shop combined with Ice Cube's Barbershop, remade for USA's Up All Night in the vein of Bikini Carwash. It's your typical story of a group of people who have to save some special location, so they use their individual talents to raise money before the evil buyer comes in to steal the precious property. In this case the special location is a beauty shop (looking a little threadbare thanks to the setting and the nonexistent budget), and the group trying to save it is made up of a bunch of "exotic dancers," as the cover tells us. Their individual talents seem to lie with hairdressing and getting mostly naked (although we see a shockingly nonexistent amount of nudity for a film about strippers). There's the obvious carwash, and the fashion show (including a denim thong that even now I'm trying to scrub from my mind), and they succeed in the end.
The film purports to be a peek into a cast of "colorful characters who share their stories, jokes, trials and tribulations." That's true, but I'm not sure I would call them characters so much as types. That's not surprising given that it was written and directed by a man (Marcello Thedford), and often feels more like a fantasy than the story of real human beings. The acting from lead Trina McGee is decent, but she's not given much to work with. The rest of the cast are entirely forgettable, although I've certainly heard worse line readings.
The DVD from Lightyear Entertainment is entirely no-frills. The flick is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, and looks just slightly above consumer-grade camcorder. The audio is very poorly mixed, with a generic hip-hop soundtrack often drowning out much of the dialogue (for which there were no subtitles). There are no extras on the disc, unless you count scene selection.
I know there's an audience (mostly female, mostly African-American) for this film, but I can't recommend it to the general viewer. It's exactly the kind of film that would slot in perfectly on some late-night cable station not brave enough to show nudity but wants to keep insomniacs awake.
Guilty of excessive apostrophe usage and not enough booty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Lightyear Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated