The Cookout Lance Rivera

The Cookout Lance Rivera
Nobody expects genius from a broad comedy about a family barbecue, but they should at least demand something funnier than the hideous eyesore known as The Cookout. Storm P puts the plot in motion when he becomes the first choice in the NBA draft, buys a house in a gated community and invites his less-than-refined relatives over for a celebration. Naturally they threaten to embarrass him in front of his gold-digging girlfriend and his agent's endorsement deal, prompting the inevitable crisis that will prove that kin counts more than success. The film veers from crass cheap shots to maudlin sentiment, contradicting itself all over the place: the film can't decide whether the various family members are objects of affection or derision, showing no shame in skewering them as grotesques even as it rounds them up for the final affirmation, making for confusing and hypocritical viewing. Worse, director Lance Rivera blows the few good lines with a complete lack of timing and indulges the cast's tendency to mug, with Queen Latifah's crazed security guard dishing out the worst of the senseless overacting. Heavy sedation is necessary to sit through the whole thing without lobbing a brick at the screen. The extras include a blink-and-you'll-miss-it intro by Storm P and Jenifer Lewis (who plays his sensible mother), a "family commentary," a typically shallow "making of" with occasional comic interludes featuring Ruperto "Wheezer" Vanderpool pestering various sheepish crew members, three secondary featurettes that allow the cast to ruminate on the subjects of cookouts, gold-diggers and the highly underwhelming street basketball scene, nine deleted scenes and 11 recipes attributed to the film's characters. (Lions Gate)