Woo (1998)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Sex Comedy, Urban Comedy  |   Release Date - May 8, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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As the title character in Woo, Jada Pinkett follows an agreeable template for bratty unpredictability forgiven by toe-curling cuteness -- a mind-scrambling combo for men in general and Tommy Davidson in particular. It worked well for Alicia Silverstone in Clueless and Parker Posey in Party Girl, the latter film having also been directed by Woo's Daisy von Scherler Mayer. Like those actresses, Pinkett makes this part all her own by way of eccentric antics and self-stylized speech patterns that stand out. But without the script of those sleeper hits, Woo is little more than a blip on the radar, not much of a vehicle for its impish starlet. In fact, Woo sits in neutral for the better part of a formulaic all-night blind date, during which everything goes wrong in all the familiar ways. While individual moments seem inspired -- Davidson's frantic repossession of his co-signed car comes to mind -- the overall impression is of under-thinking. For example, screenwriter David C. Johnson sends them through a dozen of their evening's disasters before finally landing them at an engagement party for Woo's brother -- still in its early stages at 4 in the morning. Oops. The adventures of Davidson's posse in a drag bar and his chicken fetishist best friend (Dave Chappelle) in the bedroom are also best left forgotten. But Davidson himself makes a good uptight straight man, working nicely alongside Pinkett's mischievous button-pusher.