Joe Eddy’s “Bootyology,” a mockumentary released in 2023, delves into the intriguing case of the 2006 vanishing act of hip-hop duo The Booty Boys. The film centers on the enigma surrounding their departure: did their booty-focused escapades lead to a criminal act, or did these party-loving rappers ascend to a dimension beyond? While “Bootyology” remains true to its posterior-centered theme, particularly in its strong opening act and skillful comedic performances, it stumbles in fully exploring an AI commentary introduced at the beginning and the world of profit-driven executives. In the end, perhaps it’s the lure of the booty or the dance of the comedy itself that’s to blame for the film’s occasional hiccups. Regardless of personal preferences regarding rear-ends, one cannot deny that “Bootyology” is a comedic gem.
Imagine if filmmaker Kevin Smith pondered over the early days of hip-hop and then, after a couple of puffs, contemplated the scenario where the Beastie Boys vanished for a decade and a half only to reappear in an evolved society, akin to the hologram of 2Pac at Coachella. The film’s captivating first act genuinely resembles a documentary until it’s revealed that The Booty Boys — comprised of sixxxHole (Spencer Yaras) and browneye (Chris Lightbody) — were cryogenically frozen in a Southern California bar named Budthoulz, humorously known as “Buttholes.” With a dash of science fiction added, “Bootyology” tracks the protagonists as they wrestle with PTFD (Post-Traumatic Freeze Disorder) while striving to resurrect their careers.
“Bootyology” holds in high regard the ethos of hip-hop traditionalists. Browneye carries a hint of Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, while sixxxHole exudes the aura of an underappreciated barstool poet. The initial segment sets the stage with former collaborators reminiscing about The Booty Boys’ glory days. Supporting characters like Terry, also known as Bootytron 9000 (Rhett George), and Mary, aka Queen Bootytifah (Megan Duffy), instantly transport the film to a nostalgic era reminiscent of “Wild Style” (1982) and “Krush Groove” (1985). The main characters themselves evoke a laid-back, more compact version of The Fat Boys, and a couple of nerdy figures (Robert J. Steinmiller Jr. as Linus Van Lynes, Dave Theune as Kevin) provide relevant insights on artificial intelligence, celebrity worship, and social influencers. Overall, “Bootyology” thrives in illustrating why The Booty Boys garnered a devoted following.
However, “Bootyology” at times goes overboard with cultural references in the latter half. It’s not as excessive as some modern Adam McKay films with their fourth wall breaks and inventive interstitial graphics, but more aligned with films that deconstruct societal shifts and strive to remind audiences of changing norms. Still, this is a minor quibble for this particular cheeky production.
Additionally, the film doesn’t capitalize on the introductory AI commentary and uses it more as a plot twist for the final act. Nonetheless, the music and lyrics shine brightly throughout. This becomes crucial, as the audacious first act revelation of the freezing incident might be too outlandish for certain viewers. Fortunately, Eddy maintains the film’s momentum and draws out the best from his lead actors.
While “Bootyology” experiences a dip in momentum in the closing act, it rebounds with unexpectedly poignant moments featuring Taras as sixxxHole. The cinematography, while typical for a mockumentary style, is enlivened by a show-stopping musical piece — “We Are All Butt Men” — that keeps the audience reflecting on the power of their posterior. Nonetheless, like many emerging comedic talents, Eddy doesn’t quite know when to wrap things up, occasionally shifting attention to the somewhat underdeveloped AI angle. Nevertheless, “Bootyology” unabashedly celebrates the allure of the rear end, and viewers should let their lightheartedness and humorous sensibilities guide them. Eddy’s enjoyable film is likely to become a hit among digital and late-night movie audiences, once the Butt Gods bless streamers with the chance to discover this gem online. In the spirit of the booty, let “Bootyology” flourish.