'Woo' no boost for Jada Pinkett Smith
May 23, 1998
Web posted at: 6:05 p.m. EDT (2205 GMT)
From Reviewer Paul Tatara
Jada Pinkett Smith as 'Woo'
(CNN) -- Before I get around to reviewing "Woo," let me just
say that I get a big kick out of both Jada Pinkett Smith and
her husband, Will Smith. Though they're the kind of
commercially obsessed movie stars that normally give me a
Bruce & Demi-style tummy ache, I still enjoy their particular
brand of Hollywood Hills glossiness.
They positively glow on-camera, like the king and queen of
the prom duded up in designer threads and bathed in bottled
water. They're also affable, highly intelligent talk-show
guests who display a very winning sense of humor about
After the back-to-back box office bonanzas (that's called
alliteration) of "Independence Day" and "Men in Black," Will
can, of course, pretty much write his own ticket in the movie
biz, but, dazzling as she is, Jada still has some convincing
to do. So far, the most exposure she's had has been in "The
Nutty Professor," but I don't recall too many people
barreling into the theater to see that one because it
co-starred Jada Pinkett Smith.
Movie's a dog
So now she gets her shot at carrying a movie on her own, and
it turns out to be "Woo," which stinks so bad dogs can detect
it on your clothes after you've watched it. Woo, believe it
or not, is the main character, manifested in Jada's
spectacularly toned, ooh-girl hot body. This movie, if it's
about anything at all, is about Jada struttin' her stuff big
time, without mercy, take no prisoners.
In the opening sequence, the camera practically ignores her
head, focusing instead on her shapely legs and tight little
behind, which is pretty easy to do since she's wearing what
appears to be a pink negligee while walking down 42nd Street.
Lack of exposure is no longer her problem, what with her butt
getting all the best camera angles and all. The men who pass
her on the street, because they're leering, salivating
imbeciles, do things like fall off their bicycles while
trying to see down her dress. I'm sure you can detect the
richness of the screenplay already.
The plot, which could be written on a gum wrapper, is a bunch
of baloney about Woo's search for her one true love. Her
cross-dressing fortune teller (played by Girlina, and, no,
I'm not kidding) informs her that she's about to meet Mr.
Right, so she should keep her eyes peeled.
No relief from sexiness
Then Woo, because girls who look like Jada and run around in
nighties can't meet men, gets fixed up on a blind date with
that most hee-larious of all blind dates -- the clumsy nerd.
Woo is supposed to be a little hurricane, so full of life and
sass that "average" people can't cope with her. What she
actually is is a self-indulgent little tease, with an ego
that would make Gore Vidal blush. The nerd, played badly by
Tommy Davidson, gets belittled by Woo so many times, you
actually start feeling sorry for him.
Her needless harassment of the guy is endless. She seduces
him full throttle, then berates him for only having one thing
on his mind when he lunges for her. She embarrasses him at a
fancy restaurant, screaming at the waiter because they've
been seated too close to a wall-mounted fire extinguisher.
She takes him to a fancy party, then doesn't want to dance
with him for ... well ... for no good reason, really.
The whole thing is rude and pathetic, more like a lengthy
episode of a bad sitcom than a movie, chock full of the kind
of sexual innuendoes that are guaranteed to please horny
eighth-graders or people who laugh at those "Playboy" party
jokes. It's directed by Daisy V.S. Mayer, in the sense that
she points the camera at actors.
If the creaky timing displayed in these scenes is her idea of
comedy, she might need to rethink her vocation before she's
having to deal with the Wayans Brothers. David C. Johnson
wrote the screenplay, in the sense that he can type.
Better luck next time, Jada. And put some clothes on, for
"Woo," in a word, is awful. There's bad language, offensive
stereotypes of both men and women and assorted sexual
situations. Even watching Jada shake a tail feather gets old
after a while. 80 minutes. Rated R, for sexually retarded.