When Todd Anderson (played by Quran Pender) has just signed a $30 million contract with his hometown basketball team the New Jersey Nets, he purchases many new luxuries for himself and his family including a new house in a well established, high class neighborhood for him and his gold digging girlfriend Brittany (played by Meagan Good). Keeping with family tradition, he decides to host a regular family reunion cookout in his new place, however, not planning for it to clash with an important business meeting for an endorsement deal.
Meanwhile, Bling Bling (played by Ja Rule) is jealous that Todd has made it with his basketball contract after being insulted and embarrassed in front of the neighborhood when Todd did not recognize who he was. He plans to get many pairs of sneakers signed by the upcoming star to sell on eBay and become rich. Whilst on his way to Todd's new house, he crashes his car due to his clumsy friend and then tries to steal a new Mercedes from a car park without realizing the car belongs to Todd's girlfriend Brittany. After finding out he holds her at gunpoint and forces her to drive him there.
Although the meeting is scheduled to take place in the morning, and the guests are to arrive in the afternoon, one by one members of Todd's eccentric family begin to arrive before expected disrupting his business interview. The neighbors are drawn to the cookout, and Todd is concerned mainly about his image, as his family's antics are making a poor impression on his neighbors.
When Bling Bling and his criminal sidekick invade the cookout so they can get Todd's autograph, the ensuing chaos makes Todd realize how much he needs his family. He realizes that he loves the family for the way they are and gets a shock by the endorsement interviewer. Todd breaks up with Brittney and marries Becky and scored 26 points in his debut in New Jersey.Quran Pender — Todd Andersen (credited as Storm P.)
Jenifer Lewis — Lady Em/Emma Andersen
Meagan Good — Brittany
Ja Rule — Bling Bling/Percival "Assmackey" Ashmokeem
Jonathan Silverman — Wes Riley
Tim Meadows — Leroy
Farrah Fawcett — Mrs. Crowley
Ruperto Vanderpool — Wheezer
Frankie Faison — JoJo Andersen
Vincent Pastore — Horse shit salesman (credited as "Poo Salesman")
Eve — Becky
Danny Glover — Judge Crowley
Queen Latifah — Security Guard
Roberto Roman — Danny
Reg E. Cathey --- Frank Washington
Jerod Mixon — Willie
Jamal Mixon — Nelson
Gerry Bamman — Butler
Wendy Williams — Piers Gabriel
The film opened on 1,303 screens, and opened at #8 in the box office with a gross of $5,000,900. After seven weeks, it ended with a domestic gross of $11,814,019 and made $195,051 from foreign countries, for a total of $12,009,070 world-wide.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a rating 5%, based on 41 reviews, with the consensus reading, "Good-natured but prepared with an absence of craft, The Cookout is an unappetizing collection of warmed-over jokes." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 15 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
On September 3, 2011, a sequel, The Cookout 2 premiered on BET. Quran Pender, Ja Rule and Frankie Faison were the only cast members to reprise their roles. Despite the title, the plot itself is not about a cook-out at all. Talk show host Wendy Williams had a brief cameo as reporter Piers Gabriel in the original. In the sequel, she makes a special guest appearance as herself. Charlie Murphy co-stars in the film as Coach Ashmokeem, the brother of Bling Bling (Rule). Rapper Rick Ross also makes a special guest appearance in the film.