Combustible Celluloid
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With: 50 Cent (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson), Terrence Howard, Bill Duke, Joy Bryant, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Omar Benson Miller, Tory Kittles, Viola Davis, Marc John Jeffries, Ashley Walters, Serena Reeder, Walter Alza
Written by: Terence Winter
Directed by: Jim Sheridan
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content, sexuality and nudity
Running Time: 117
Date: 11/09/2005

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Film director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America) and rapper 50 Cent (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson) may seem like an odd combination, but Get Rich or Die Tryin' quickly settles into a familiar groove from the director who specializes in working class success stories. It's a mythological telling, and very much geared for a white, middle class audience (the light-skinned, straight-haired heroine, etc.). 50 plays a character called Marcus who grows up fatherless on the mean streets of New York. His beloved mother is a drug dealer, and she leaves him orphaned at a young age. Marcus grows up to become a gun-toting drug dealer himself, until he goes to jail, gets shot and emerges as a real rapper, ready for his climb to stardom. Sheridan carefully keeps Marcus in our good graces with his little touches -- like a well-placed wink -- and by casting the Colombians as the "evil" drug dealers while the blacks are the "good" drug dealers. 50 has a strong onscreen charisma and infectious smile, but the new music created for the movie does not have the sleazy power of his Dr. Dre-produced recordings. Terrence Howard and Bill Duke provide a strong support in the acting department, and Sheridan comes up with more than his share of superbly directed scenes, but the whole thing is a mixed bag. It doesn't quite reach the energy of Eminem's similar big-screen outing 8 Mile (2002).

DVD Details: Maybe in an attempt to forget about a failure, Paramount's DVD is surprisingly stripped down. It comes with only a making-of featurette and a trailer, and not even any music videos. A Sheridan commentary track would have been nice, so that he could defend some of his more interesting artistic contributions...{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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