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The DVD cover for Janky Promoters, out February 23rd from Alliance Films, touts the reunion of Ice Cube and Mike Epps! Remember, they were together in Friday! Umm…not really. I don’t really remember Mike Epps in Friday at all. You want a Friday reunion, how about Ice Cube and Chris Tucker? Or even Ice Cube and Nia Long? That would make a little more sense. This is like advertising Jackie Brown by touting the reunion of Robert DeNiro and Samuel L. Jackson, last together in Goodfellas!
It just doesn’t work. Neither does the movie. You see, Cube and Epps are these promoters, who have somehow managed to book a big rap star for a show in their neighbourhood. That star is played by real-life rap superstar Young Jeezy, who is alarmingly the most convincing character in the movie. Cube and Epps are inept losers who can’t do anything but hustle – they manage to convince Jeezy and his entourage to stay in a cheap, run-down motel. And to accept their rented beater van in lieu of a limo. But that is about the only thing they do right.
The rest of the movie sees the pair running around trying to scam other people, trying to get the money together that they need to book the hall for the performance, convince people to attend, and pump up the opening act, a terrible rapper who has never performed in front of people and just happens to be Cube’s son.
Meanwhile, they run afoul of the obligatory angry husbands, gangsters and nagging fiancees, while enraging drug dealers and the hall owner and a bunch of other people. And they try to scam their own women. And they take money from the gangsters. And they spend all kinds of money that isn’t theirs. And they wring their hands and fret and worry and keep on failing, time and time again. And none of it is unexpected, and none of it is interesting, and none of it goes anywhere.
For example, Cube spends the money he has been saving for his honeymoon with his fiancee. Of course she’s going to find out and lose her mind and make his life miserable, right? Nope. Apparently not – nothing ever seems to come of it. And it isn’t like the movie is doing it on purpose. It feels more like they forgot that plot line even existed. Many of these plot lines suffer a similar fate, getting forgotten entirely in favour of yet another grift or gag or unnecessary secondary character.
Cube and Epps are reasonbly charming, and they are both decent actors, but the script is simply awful, and gives them absolutely nothing to work with. Janky Promoters ends up being a decidedly uncomfortable 85 minutes, and each new con or scam raises the level of irritation considerably. Top that off with a stunningly silly and unsatisfactory ending, which explains almost nothing and really wraps nothing up at all, and you’ve got a lousy, lousy movie. Janky Promoters is a lousy movie.