Get Rich or Die Tryin'
The latter would have been preferable.
Lord knows why so many rappers have decided that acting is the logical progression for them, but there's been no shortage of attempts. Eminem's oft lauded debut in 8 Mile springs most obviously to mind, but over the past few years we've had Ludicrous, Ice Cube, Ice T, That Fella Off Outkast and umpteen other very-little-to-no marks try their hand with varying degrees of failure. Which brings us to mumbling, bullet perforated rap nuisance Curtis "50-"Fiddy"Cent" Jackson's remarkable outing, although as you've probably heard by this point the remarks aren't good ones.
This isn't Fiddy's true life story any more than 8 Mile was Mather's, but it might as well be, just as 8 Mile might as well have been. Frankly, if you didn't loathe the man before clapping eyes on this monstrosity you will after it. After the death of his drug dealin' mother. Marcus (Fiddy) is sent to live in his overcrowded Grandma's house with an assortment of uncles and cousins. Deciding that being rich is preferable to being poor, he takes to drug dealing. The way this is presented seems to suggest we should be applauding his initiative and chutzpah. Blah blah, life of crime, blah blah, armed robbery, blah blah, stint in jail, blah blah, tries to go straight by rapping, blah blah, gets shot, blah blah odds overcome wifeandkidhappyending. Frighteningly original, no?
Now, I've been driving for a good many years now but I've never managed to see a rabbit caught in my headlights. I rather suspect, however, that the expression that Fiddy wears for the bulk of his scenes in this shabby craptacular are more than a passable imitation. I have never seen a lead actor look so exceedingly uncomfortable in front of a camera, at least outside of the realms of DTV horror flicks starring fading porn stars. I may be doing Fiddy a great wrong; perhaps he has spent the vast bulk of his life looking startled and slightly afraid, in which case Get Rich or Try Cryin' is a virtuoso acting masterclass rather than the shambling monstrosity it first appears to be.
Naturally, a man who makes his living through his voice will be able to give a clear and enunciated reading, at least. What's that Fiddy? Murphungle dufan Respect durgum nu Gangster? My apologies Fiddy, but you appear to be talking in tongues. I'll fetch the exorcist. What? Your voice normally sounds like you're chewing a cushion? Oh. Funnily enough, when he's moaning about how different his voice sounds after taking a shot in the mouth (oo-er, missus) it's the closest he strays to comprehensibility throughout all of this foolish catastrophe of a film.
I could almost be impressed by the way this... thing treats peddling crack cocaine and lord knows how much unseen pain and suffering as a crime on a par with, ooh, scrumping for apples down at Old Man McKitchen's orchard and similar youthful hi jinx. It's almost pleasingly stark. Few other films would attempt to walk up to you and say, 'Hi, I'm a drug pusher who does a bit of armed robbery on the side because it seemed easier than an honest living. Feel sorry for me.' Get Rich or Fry Brian does. It's very nearly barefaced enough to make me admire it, but not quite, so instead I'll just laugh at it.
Jim Sheridan, what are you up to? Fresh from In America, which was rightly regarded as something of a stalking horse for the best picture Oscar, to follow it with this redundant testicle bag of a film beggars belief. Didn't you screen test the clown? Didn't you notice he has the screen presence and rampant charisma of a used tea bag? Didn't you read the hamfisted bollockchop of a script that spouts cliches and blank eyed, witless insults with such depressing frequency that it's best described as an eighth rate Goodfellas knock off written by Tim Westwood? How hard were you hit on the head to make signing on to this festering skidmark of a film seem like a good idea? Why, man, why?
This film serves no purpose other than the appeasement of Fiddy's ego and the less discerning members of his fanbase. At least 8 Mile had a flawed but basically decent person in the lead, looking for a way out of the daily grind by talent. Get Rich or Pie Flying says scrabble for cash, step on the weak, exploit the vulnerable, attack society and apologise for none of it. Remorse is superfluous and your self worth is measured purely by the number of dollar bills in your bank.
It's not actually the morals of this affront to common decency that offends me so. It's the amateur hour acting, flat footed direction, bland and boring settings, indescribably feeble scripting and utter absence of joy that's the real pisser. I swear this film is so unredeemable that the act of watching it makes a small piece of your soul flicker out and die, never to be replaced. It's awful. I could go on, I mean I've not even mentioned the dismal supporting roles and pretty much glossed over quite how contrived, hackneyed and festering the worst excesses of the script takes it to, but I think I've made my point and I've my blood pressure to think of.
Earns one star purely by having the brass grapefruits to script Bill Dukes calling himself "God, Allah and Buddha all rolled up into one big nigger".
Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 1/5 TippyMarks.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Majestic)
Joy Bryant (Charlene)
Omar Benson Miller (Keryl)
Tory Kittles (Justice)
Terrence Howard (Bama)
Ashley Walters (Antwan)
Bill Duke (Levar)