Lionsgate // 2005 // 80 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // March 11th, 2005
Inspired by the series of animated Internet shorts with the same name, Lil' Pimp has the distinction of being the first feature-length film created using Macromedia Flash animation. It also has the distinction of being an irredeemably awful piece of crap (but that's not really much of a distinction, is it?).
Here's the basic story: Lil' Pimp (voiced by co-creator Mark Brooks) is a nine-year-old little white boy who can't find a place for himself in the world of little white boys. One day, he happens to meet Sweet Chiffon (voiced by rapper Lil' Kim), a prostitute who works out of a club named The Playground. Chiffon takes Lil' Pimp back to the club and introduces him to her boss, a pimp named Fruit Juice (voiced by actor/comedian Bernie Mac). Fruit Juice and his fellow pimps school Lil' Pimp in the art of pimpin', which angers the young boy's mother, who in turn asks Mayor Tony Gold (voiced by a seriously slumming -- even by his standards -- William Shatner) to step in and rescue her child from this den of iniquity. Mayor Gold, seeing an opportunity to take over the prostitution racket for his own ends, shuts down The Playground, kidnaps the hos, and throws the pimps in jail. Lil' Pimp decides to bust his friends out of the joint, rescue the women, and help Fruit Juice achieve his dream of turning The Playground into a ho-themed amusement park. Oh, yeah, before I forget -- you also get unfunny work from bad rapper/bad actor Ludacris as the voice of a Tourette's-afflicted gerbil named Weathers and Rudy Ray Moore as the voice of Mr. Slippers, the rhyme-spouting owner of a pimp haberdashery. (You know you're in trouble when not even Dolemite himself can generate any laughs.)
Co-creators Peter Gilstrap and Mark Brooks must have thought the idea of a young white kid running with a crew of foulmouthed black pimps was in itself a funny enough idea to sustain a feature film, because they certainly didn't bother to write any jokes into this story. I couldn't find a single laugh in this thing. I'm all for jokes about Whitey, Bobo, Mr. Charlie, and/or The Man, but I don't think the image of a little white boy dressed up like Rooster or Huggy Bear is automatically funny, and, apparently I'm not the only person who feels this way. Production on this film was first announced in late 2000, back when the original shorts were a hot item. Test screenings for the first cut were held in mid-2003; the results, to say the least, were disastrous (half the audience walked out). The film then went through a major overhaul, during which time Sony dropped its distribution plans and Revolution Studios eventually farmed the finished product out to the folks at Lions Gate, who opted for a straight-to-video release. Too bad they didn't decide simply to bury it at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
The contents are awful, but Lil' Pimp sure looks great. Yeah, the Flash animation is pretty crude, but the image itself is incredibly vibrant, with bright, bold colors, and nary a defect to be found. The Dolby stereo surround track is all stereo and no surround, although the front soundstage is nice and wide, especially when it comes to the horrible songs on the soundtrack. The only extras (if you can call them that) are trailers for other Lions Gate releases.
Here's the bottom line: Lil' Pimp sucks. It sucks out loud. Stay away from it.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R