Release Date: 08/22/23 [VOD]
Studio: Gravitas Ventures.
"When a documentary crew sets out to explore the relationship between artificial intelligence and popular music, their journey takes a turn when they stumble across a mystery involving the disappearance of infamous rap duo, The Booty Boys."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Words that end in the suffix “ology” often describe the study of a particular subject. Some are more common and necessary for humans to comprehend than others, like biology or the study of living organisms. Others are fun and serve a more leisurely purpose, like mixology or the study of the preparation of drinks. Despite its name, the new film Bootyology is neither. But that’s okay. Because while it may have no true educational purpose, it delivers on something arguably even more enjoyable: laughter.
The film is a mesh of many different genres, but overall it’s a mockumentary. It begins as this chronicle about a company called Mystic Canyon that has just begun using A.I. to determine which old musicians and music groups have the potential to still churn out hits. Oddly enough, it keeps on suggesting a rap duo called The Booty Boys. There’s only one problem though: they have been missing for nearly two decades.
The film initially plays out like an episode of E! True Hollywood Story featuring multiple talking head interviews with several acquaintances, fans, and even Brian Austin Green for some reason. It also shows old footage and photos from the band’s glory days. But what starts out as an earnest profile on Mystic Canyon and The Booty Boys transitions into a full fledged investigation. And it leads the camera crew to an old bar the duo was last seen at right before they disappeared. When asked about the last time the rappers hung out there, the bar owner takes the crew on a tour of the bar. During the tour he opens one of his old freezers and there he finds the rappers frozen in ice.
Soon after, the duo is miraculously thawed out (with minimal brain damage) and the rest of the film follows their adjustment to the modern music industry as well as their attempt to try and create a chart-topping album just as Mystic Canyon’s A.I. predicted.
Now, it does take a while for the film to find its footing. And the way the story is framed using A.I. could be considered in poor taste because of how Hollywood feels about the technology at the moment. Like The Booty Boys, however, there is lots of fun to be had when the film finally gets into the groove.
If you’re a fan of The Lonely Island, this movie is for you. Not just because it is extremely reminiscent of the underrated gem Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, but because the purposefully bad lyrics to all of the group's undeniably catchy songs will have you grinning from beginning to end. To clarify, if you’re not mumbling the words to “Booty Duty” by the end, then there’s a chance you may not like fun.
Not all of the comedy is rooted in the music though. In fact, some of the funniest moments are when the duo are trying to return to form. For example, there’s a hilarious sequence where the two are forced to do a variation of the Rorschach test to assess their mental health. Not only can they not stop making sexual references, but they resort to spewing absolute nonsense.
Chris Lightbody and Spencer Yaras star as fictional rappers brownEye and sixxxHole respectively, and their chemistry is incredible. Considering that they are real life friends and partners who wrote the film and have been workshopping the group for years it’s not surprising. The two are so fun to watch that when they are onscreen or something is happening that doesn’t directly involve their characters, the film becomes a little less entertaining. That’s not a sleight to any of the other actors involved or the story, but rather a testament to how much Lightbody and Yaras truly light up the screen.
Now, the film obviously isn’t perfect. As mentioned before, there is a lot that happens over its short runtime, and it takes a while before it really hits its stride. As ambitious as it is, however, there are moments where you might expect it to take big swings and it surprisingly doesn’t. For instance, shortly after being thawed out the duo gets caught up on everything that’s happened since they disappeared. They are briefed on things like the MeToo movement, Donald Trump’s presidency, and even Rebecca Black. But all they do is listen. There is no reaction, no pushback, and as a result the moment isn’t as funny as it could be. Conversely, later on when the two are sifting through some of their unreleased tracks, they stumble upon a song about Bill Cosby and actually realize it might be tone deaf. Their awareness is what makes that particular scene so funny. Not only would it have been great to see more of that growth but it would have been great to see more references to how much they have missed in general.
In a recent interview with the film’s director, Joe Eddy, it was revealed that he had been pushing Lightbody and Yaras to make this film for years. After seeing the final product, it makes sense why. The Booty Boys are absolute indie icons that the whole world needs to see.
While Bootyology doesn’t live to its name by studying butts, it is worth taking a crack at. Not just because it’s filled with valuable lessons about the power of music and friendship. But because it’s the kind of cheeky original I.P. that rarely gets made and both Hollywood executives and audiences need to get behind.