FRIDAY, FEB. 28, 1997

‘Call’ Funny In Disturbing Way

What is the true meaning of love? What is the true meaning of manhood? What do women really want? Can men, especially when they’re bonding like the herd animals they are, ever drop their macho facades and treat their lovers with the sensitivity and respect that they truly deserve? And, most important, will they be getting any tonight?

These are the burning questions posed by “Booty Call,” which wins the prize for least-subtle title of the year, and has a movie to match. Two male friends in hot pursuit of sexual relief run up against two female friends with their own ideas about courtship, class and safe sex.

Playing the four young urbanites are four very talented people trapped in the script from hell. Jamie Foxx, who plays the in-your-face, anatomically obsessed Bunz, and Tommy Davidson, who’s the far more refined Rushon, are both graduates of “In Living Color” and are gifted comedians. Likewise, Vivica A. Fox and Tamala Jones, who play the upwardly mobile Lysterine and the sexually conservative Nikki and are quite capable of holding their own against the rapid-fire repartee of their co-stars.

Basically, Bunz and Rushon are derided for being male. Lysterine and Nikki are depicted as harpies for insisting on some very basic bedroom precautions that the men should have taken care of beforehand. Stupidity isn’t all that funny. Neither are ethnic jokes, which are tossed off casually and somewhat cruelly. Chinese. Gays. Chinese gays. Punjabi grocery clerks. They all come under the abuse umbrella of “Booty Call.” It’s not that the movie is never funny. It’s just that you don’t feel very good when it is.

xxxx “Booty Call” Location: North Division Credits: Directed by Jeff Pollack, starring Jamie Foxx. Tommy Davidson, Vivica A. Fox, Tamala Jones, Scott LaRose and Ric Young Running time: 1:17 Rating: R

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