August 2, 2007

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Who's Your Caddy? (PG-13)
Big Boi (or Antwan Patton) of OutKast plays a hip-hop star trying to join an exclusive golf club to set right old family wrongs in Who’s Your Caddy?, a choppy, mostly embarrassing comedy.

C-Note (Patton) shows up at the Carolina Pines Golf and Country Club with a suitcase full of cash and a desire to make speedy work of the membership process. But stuffy, old-school stick-in-the-mud club president Cummings (Jeffrey Jones) wants nothing to do with this, what did you say it was called? Hippy hop? That’s not how we say cricket, Cummings informs C-Note; take your money and begone, sir.

C-Note’s determined, however, to get into that club. He buys an estate whose land is actually part of the golf course and whose old owner used to lease to the club. C-Note, naturally, tells Cummings that mi 17th hole es su 17th hole, so long as Cummings gives C-Note a membership. Cummings resists, C-Note pushes it, Cummings gives in but then he hires a sexy lawyer (Tamala Jones) to find a way out of his promise, and of course C-Note promptly starts one of those antagonistic flirt-ships that movies like this are so fond of engaging the professional, smart girls in (because, you see, all that book learnin’ makes you push boys away even though you really think they are dreamy).

This movie is not as stupid as it looks but it’s much stupider than it needs to be. Like salt crystals on a stale pretzel, there are tiny bits of interesting stuck to all that blech. The golf match that ends the movie — I think it’s a law that a movie like this has to end on a big game — is lifted straight from a half dozen other sappy golf movies but has moments of story possibility (like the white caddy who C-Note helps to get some recognition for his talent, a surprisingly subtle sort of pay-it-forward for the recognition C-Note’s father, a Carolina Pines caddy, never got). C-Note and sexy lawyer’s relationship (OK, her character’s name is Shannon, but the movie’s not all that interested in giving her dimensions) is paint-by-numbers cutesiness but fleeting fragments of their conversations suggest that someone, at some point in this movie, tried to wedge in a little insight about some of the socioeconomic issues that affect the way people relate to each other. (In a briefly entertaining exchange, she points out that despite his “street” pretensions he was an English major at Dartmouth. For, maybe, five seconds, the movie almost went somewhere interesting about perception and the way the persona someone develops influences where and how they succeed.)

Of course, for each occasional bit of “huh,” there is a ton of “ow, stop hitting me with the clunky plot development and subtle-like-an-anvil themes.” Wham, racism is bad. Wham, old-money rich people don’t like new-money rich people. Wham, an ignored trophy wife is going to eventually make a play for one of C-Note’s entourage. Wham, old people don’t know what hip-hop is.

This last one is particularly stupid. Even if you accept that a club full of rich white people have never, in the three decades of its popularity, run in to hip-hop music, you (by which I mean the movie) can’t pretend that the rich people’s kids (to say nothing of their almost equally young trophy wives) haven’t heard of this universally popular music genre. So, it doesn’t, making a hero of C-Note and his friends to, eventually, everyone in the club but Cummings, leaving us to wonder how it is remotely believable that even a prissy all-white club would turn down a famous, flush-with-cash member who is such a star to so many of its members. Yet another chance for smart societal insight lost. D+

Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content, some nudity, language and drug material. Directed by Don Michael Paul and written by Paul, Bradley Allenstein and Robert Henny, Who’s Your Caddy? is an hour and 33 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by MGM.