Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

The Cookout Reviews

It took a village of screenwriters and story creators — including costar Queen Latifah and first-time director Lance Rivera — to cram just about every imaginable stereotype about African-Americans and white people ever conceived into this short, unappetizing comedy. Recent Rutgers University graduate Todd Anderson (Quran Pender), a three-time All-American basketball player, has everything a young man could want: Loving parents JoJo (Frankie Faison) and Lady Em (Jenifer Lewis), a close-knit extended family and excellent career prospects — he's a top NBA draft pick. He's thrilled when his home state, New Jersey, picks him in the first round, but not as thrilled as his gold-digging girlfriend, Brittany (Meagan Good), who's drooling over his $30 million contract. Having promised his parents and agent, Wes (Jonathan Silverman), that he isn't going to change, Todd immediately goes on a spending spree with his newfound loot, snapping up gifts for Lady Em and JoJo, a Hummer and a huge mansion in the tony Garden Ridge Estates. Todd's old friends from the Newark neighborhood where he grew up are less than thrilled, and local bullies Bling Bling (Ja Rule) and Wheezer (Ruperto Vanderpool) come up with a plan to make themselves some money from Todd's fame. Meanwhile, Todd placates his mother by letting her decorate the new place, much to the pampered Brittany's dismay, and he decides a family cookout would be the ideal way to celebrate his good fortune. A crazy security guard (Queen Latifah) and some nosy neighbors (Farrah Fawcett, Danny Glover) are skeptical about the "hoodlums" encroaching on their peace and quiet, and try to break up the increasingly out-of-control get-together. Perhaps proving that too many cooks do indeed spoil the broth, every potentially interesting development &#151 Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tries to entice Todd to play for him, frustrated reporters snoop around for scandal about the well-brought-up Todd, Lady Em and a snooty chef (Jesse May) nearly come to blows &#151 is shunted aside in favor of tasteless gags.