In the war between the rappers-turned-filmmakers, Ice Cube wins in a walk.
For all its problems with story and characterization, Cube's "The Players Club" showed a ton of promise, and its performance at the box office reflects that. Master P's inaugural effort as writer-star, "I Got the Hook Up," shows nothing except a %J propensity for wallowing in bad taste.
P, who conveys little on-screen charisma (casting himself in the lead was mistake No. 1), is Black, half of a streetwise duo selling stuff from the back of their van. He and partner Blue (A.J. Johnson) hit paydirt when a frightened delivery man mistakenly delivers a box of cell phones to their street-side "office."
Lucky for them Black's sort-of girlfriend, Lorraine (Gretchen Palmer), works for a cell-phone company and is able to get the phones hooked up. But soon the phone lines get crossed, some big-time drug lords get angry, and our guys find themselves hiding inside a strip joint run by Mr. Mim (John Witherspoon).
But plot is secondary in "I Got the Hook Up." What comes first is such funny business as watching a mentally handicapped guy fall off his bicycle, listening to old women curse blue streaks and ogling strippers as they strip.
There's really no story here, just a series of sketch bits that would seem hilarious to your average 10-year-old. The whole thing makes the Three Stooges seem like models of restraint.
'I Got the Hook Up'
Directed by Michael Martin
Starring Master P, A. J. Johnson and Gretchen Palmer
Released by Dimension Films
Rated R (strong language, crude sexual humor, nudity, drug content and some violence)
Sun score *
Pub Date: 5/27/98