[Screen It]


(1998) (Jada Pinkett Smith, Tommy Davidson) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate None Moderate None None
Minor None None Minor Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Romantic Comedy: A straight-laced law clerk has his world turned upside down after going on a blind date with a head turning, carefree, and definitely mischievous woman.
Darlene "Woo" Bates (JADA PINKETT SMITH) is a carefree, fun-loving, drop dead beauty who instantly grabs any man's attention as she walks by. Despite her beauty, Woo can't find a man in her life and thus meets with her transsexual psychic friend, Celestrial (GIRLINA), for some mystical help. She informs Woo that she's about to meet a Virgo who will change her life.

That falls into place when her cousin, Claudette (PAULA JAI PARKER), and her boyfriend, Lenny (DAVE CHAPPELLE), find themselves stuck with Woo for the evening. Wanting some time alone with his girlfriend, Lenny calls up his friend, Tim Jackson (TOMMY DAVIDSON), a straight-laced law clerk, and asks if he'll go on a blind date with Woo. Tim, who often chides his buddies Hop (DARREL M. HEATH), Romaine (MICHAEL RALPH), and Frankie (DUANE MARTIN) for their chauvinistic, woman watching behavior, agrees and prepares for his gentlemanly date. Little does he know, however, that his evening's about to be turned upside down upon Woo's arrival.

Sensing his unnatural and uncomfortable dating "state," Woo sets out to shake up Tim's routine. As the night progresses and they go from one party to the next where everyone knows Woo they continuously run into Tim's womanizing friends, and Tim's night turns into a series of emotional, social, and romantic catastrophes. Although these two and their completely opposite ways initially irritate each other, the built up friction eventually leads to romance.

If they're fans of someone in the cast, they might, but preteens will probably have little or no interest in this film.
For sexual content and language.
  • JADA PINKETT SMITH plays a carefree, mischievous woman who wants to have a good time and isn't afraid to put someone in their place if she finds them rude or too pretentious. While doing so she occasionally comes off as rude herself, and she briefly smokes a joint in one scene.
  • TOMMY DAVIDSON plays a straight-laced law clerk who finds his world turned upside down by Woo. Along the way he cusses some and briefly smokes a joint as well.


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    A decidedly untraditional romantic comedy, "Woo" is more of an "opposites irritate but eventually attract each other" type of story. Featuring an outgoing, fun-loving female lead and her well- mannered "straight man" who comically suffers due to her flamboyant ways, this film succeeds mainly due to the winning performances from those two leads.

    Instead of the standard plot commonly found in romantic comedies where the main characters initially don't like each other, then get together, but break up and finally get together again, this movie runs full speed ahead playing off the notion that true opposites do indeed attract one another. Focusing almost entirely on the friction generated between the two characters' contrasting lifestyles, the film does manage to deliver quite a few laughs early in the story before losing most of its comic steam later on.

    Those early laughs come from Tim's obvious social insecurity and his awkwardness during the early stages of his date with Woo. His preparations for her arrival are humorous, and a scene where he accidentally sets a roll of toilet paper on fire after she arrives is quite funny. In fact it's Davidson's dumbfounded reactions to Woo's attempts at shaking up his stilted lifestyle, and the repercussions that follow, that provide most of the film's better moments.

    Other humor originates from his three friends who continuously show up during his date and represent the more chauvinistic side of men's treatment toward women. Of course all of that leads up to one's comeuppance as he mistakes a bar full of friendly transvestites as hitting his own private sexual jackpot. The humor then, however, dips below the belt as this character learns the truth and then disgustedly pulls a pair of women's underwear from his jacket and smells his fingers. While some at our screening found this funny, whether you do depends on your tolerance of sophomoric humor.

    Director Daisy V.S. Mayer ("Party Girl") and screenwriter David C. Johnson ("D.R.O.P. Squad") often do resort to such "low ball" attempts at humor and other odd moments that unfortunately prevent the film from being a really good romantic comedy. Occasionally sped up film, goofing sound effects, and scenes such as a woman partially dressed in chicken feathers and sexually strutting around like such a fowl belittle most of the film's efforts. It's obvious, though, that Mayer intends to play this film against the normal conventions of the genre, and that's evident in moments such as when Billy Dee Williams shows up as Tim's romantic conscience.

    Jada Pinkett Smith ("Scream 2," "The Nutty Professor") is delightful in her role and brings a revved up charm to her character. Easily portraying the fun loving, well known and extremely confident woman, Jada is fun to watch whenever she's on screen. Tommy Davidson ("Booty Call," TV's "In Living Color") is good as the comic straight man whose ultra-steady life is disrupted by Woo's flamboyant nature. The only problem is that his character as written doesn't always remain congruous to his initial conduct. Perhaps that's the director suggesting that all men are "pigs" at heart, but it somewhat diminishes the fun had at the expense of his character.

    Overall, the film offers a large range of humorous moments for a wide variety of comedic appetites, so it should partially please many moviegoers as long as they're not offended by the picture's intentionally played stereotypes. The main problem, however, is that by offering so many types of humor -- especially in the low common denominator arena -- the film never satiates one's appetite for a general romantic comedy unless you aren't that discerning about what you're "fed" cinematically.

    Even so, the winning and charming performances from Smith and Davidson mostly make up for any such shortcomings. Although not a traditional romantic comedy and certainly not even approaching the status of being a classic in that genre, the film offers some fun moments and clearly pleased our preview audience. We give "Woo" a 6 out of 10.

    Here's a quick look at the films' content. Profanity is extreme with 15+ "f" words and a wide assortment of other words and phrases. Some sexual comments are made, but beyond a brief glimpse of Tim's bare butt and the bare breasts of a woman in a magazine centerfold, no other nudity or sexual activity is seen. A few scenes do relate to transvestites and some comedy comes from Tim's straight friend being unaware that he's "fooling around" with such people.

    Another scene involves Woo and Tim briefly smoking a joint given to him by a neighbor, and other scenes show people drinking. Beyond some stereotypical, but comical representations of African Americans and men in general ogling women, the rest of the categories are relatively void of major objectionable material. Even so, you may want to look through the listings in case you or someone in your home wishes to see this film.

  • Tim and his friends drink beer.
  • Tim's neighbor and his lady friends drink what look like martinis and they give Tim a bottle of champagne.
  • Tim pours champagne for Woo and himself.
  • Woo lights up a marijuana joint (that she found and Tim's neighbor gave him) and takes a puff. She then puts it into Tim's mouth and he takes a puff. Later, one of Tim's friends smokes the joint, while another drinks some champagne.
  • We see Lenny with some sort of liquor.
  • Tim, Woo, and others have wine in a restaurant.
  • At a party Tim's friends have drinks while Tim brings some over for Woo and himself.
  • People drink in several more clubs.
  • Woo and Celestial have drinks in a club.
  • None.
  • All of the following is meant to be viewed in a humorous fashion.
  • Some may see Woo's near oblivious tendency to speak her mind or act on impulse as having a little of both (particularly the way she occasionally treats Tim).
  • Some may see the film's comic portrayal of many black stereotypes as having both.
  • Tim's friends constantly ogle women and see them as nothing more than sexual objects.
  • Tim briefly resorts to the above when telling Woo that she probably has men lined up around the block because she "has the tools" (body parts).
  • Spotting a picture of Tim's previous girlfriend (who isn't model slim like her), Woo says, "You like 'em chunky, don't you?" Later, a man tells a larger woman to get off his car because she's putting dents in it (or so he says).
  • A bartender mockingly says, "Are you deaf," (to a hearing patron) while trying to sound like a deaf person speaking and while flailing his hands about suggesting sign language.
  • Someone has stolen Tim's car outside a nightclub and some thugs confront Tim demanding his money (it's implied that they later beat him up).
  • None.
  • None.
  • Due to incessant crowd noise at our screening, the material listed below should be considered a minimum.
  • Phrases: "Nigger" (said by black people), "Bitch" (said toward women and used in general), "Ho'" (whore), "Honeys" and "Baby" (for women), "Weenie boy," "Sucker," "Punk," "Shut up," and "Balls" (testicles).
  • Woo flips some cake onto Tim's face when she catches him looking at another woman.
  • None.
  • None.
  • One song includes the lyrics, "Your booty is so fine," while others contain lyrics that couldn't be understood (thus there could be more material present).
  • Due to incessant crowd noise at our screening, the material listed below should be considered a minimum.
  • At least 17 "f" words (4 used with "mother" and 3 used sexually), 17 "s" words, 3 slang terms for male genitals (the "d" word along with "willie" and "tootsie roll"), 1 slang term for female genitals ("trim"), 2 slang terms for breasts (the "t" word), 21 asses, 11 damns, 8 hells, and 2 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • Due to incessant crowd noise at our screening, the material listed below should be considered a minimum.
  • The camera focuses on Woo's shapely legs and butt as she walks down the street.
  • Woo often wears cleavage revealing outfits.
  • Woo's psychic friend, Celestrial, is a transvestite and we later see a club full of such people. One of Tim's friends is oblivious to this and after telling the other guys that he "had a ball," (with the "ladies") they comment, "No man, you had two balls." They then ask him if he looked at their necks (for the Adam's apple), he comments that he's the one who gave all of them hickeys. After his friends tell him that the "women" were actually men, this guy disgustingly pulls some women's underwear from his jacket and then smells his fingers.
  • One of Tim's friends talks about a woman riding him like a stallion.
  • We briefly see Tim put his hand down into his pants while watching an exercise program on TV where a woman is doing pelvic thrusts.
  • Lenny tells Tim that he wants some time alone with Claudette because "she just got off her cycle" (her period).
  • We briefly see Tim's bare butt as he races nude around his apartment, cleaning it up before Woo arrives.
  • Tim scoops up a magazine that unfolds to show a nude centerfold (bare breasts).
  • Woo mockingly comes on to Tim, telling him, "Put my fire out," while unbuttoning his shirt and undoing his belt (nothing comes of this).
  • Lenny tells Claudette, "Big willy cometh," referring to their upcoming sexual activity, and later we see her partially dressed up like a chicken (yellow feathers around her bust -- that shows some cleavage). After she tells him he has just one minute, he says that's all he'll need and later he has her eat scraps of food from his bare chest (like a chicken).
  • One of Tim's friends comments that he's going to "be licked tonight" and then rapidly flicks his tongue outside his mouth. Another tells a woman, "Why don't I show you my tootsie roll?" and Woo tells him to show her, but nothing happens.
  • One of Tim's friends occasionally smokes or holds a cigar.
  • Some people smoke in bars or clubs.
  • None.
  • Whether opposites really do attract.
  • The way many men view and treat women (such as in this movie).
  • That Celestrial is a transvestite and that a club Tim's friends go to is filled with such people.
  • Woo breaks Tim's bedroom mirror (off camera) while putting on a faked emotional act to spook his friends.
  • A female friend of Woo's slaps Tim on the head after mistaking him for someone else.
  • Woo unknowingly undoes a rope that sends a restaurant chandelier swinging through the establishment, knocking over people and tables.
  • Woo's old boyfriend punches Tim in the face for trying to intervene and Woo then punches this guy in the face.
  • It's implied that some thugs set on robbing Tim also beat him up.
  • Tim uses a brick to break a window of the car that he co-owns. Later, a large truck smashes into that car (not seen, but heard and no one is hurt).

  • Reviewed May 5, 1998

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