Get Rich OR Die Boring.
Bragging about Saw II being the fifth biggest Halloween Weekend opener in history is kind of like boasting about winning 4th place in a best ass contest. Isn't it? Whatever, that's last weeks news. Lets move on to a new (somewhat anticipated) film that is headed our way this November!
Fidy. 5 Dimes. 2 Quarters. However you want to add it up, nothing's worse than some white kid screaming, "I want to go see that Fifty Cents." It's the "s" at the end that kills it. You can't throw gang signs in Wal*Mart, because 50's CD isn't allowed there. Strange that his new Biopic DVD will be. It's as graphic and brutal as any Indie gangster film I've ever seen. I know as much about Curtis "Fifty Cent" Jackson as my mom does, which isn't a lot. I know he earned more money from taking a shot in the mouth than Jenna Jamison ever did. I know that Slim Shady is his BFF. And I know that all of his songs sound about the same. Magic Stick. Candy Shop. The tone poem Window Shopper, which is included here as a new track. I can't tell the difference between the three records. 5C must have paid a mighty dollar for the looping roar of these hit singles. He can't seem to part himself from that retractifying bass line. It's his theme music. And it runs deep...
I almost bought a 50 Cent album once. Something happened. I got distracted and put it down, walking out of the Target with a handful of Action Figures and a bag of Goldfish Crackers instead. I always meant to go back and get it, but I never could quite muster the energy. Still, I've always found him to be quite charismatic. And his story is an interesting one. Maybe that's why I can't bring myself to recommend this quasi-realistic, somewhat factual biopic. It's like the first Spider-Man movie. I've heard the origins of this Super Hero Rapper so many times, its quagigious to have to sit through it again. Honestly.
The final verdict on Get Rich or Die Tryin'? It's boring. Plain and simple. It lacks the spark that made Eminem's 8 Mile, at the very least, Best Buyable on a discount rack. Em's film had a zippy wink of energy. His newly (at the time) acquired thespian skills waxed poetic over the proceedings. 8 Mile, and its star, held me captive for a good two hours that I never felt were wasted. On the opposite end of that spectrum, Get Rich also suffers from a too somber narrative. It often times takes itself and its true-to-life (uh, okay) story way too seriously. It's missing the camp flair that made Mariah Carey's Glitter a somewhat laughable cult oddity. 50's stab at filling theater seats falls with a bass thud that nearly derails the projector. The only reason a nigger gets shot in this film is to wake up the audience. There's a constant dull lull that floats into your cheeks and thighs, and arm bones while watching it. And your whole body goes numb for minutes at a time. And you start to drift off. Then, "BAM! BAM! BAM!" Oh, shit! Who's dying now?
I wanted to like Get Rich. I really did. But the thing crept up my spine and filled my hollow insides with cement. It paralyzed me, and I almost couldn't kick out the cramps upon leaving the theater. I don't understand this fake biography bullsh*t. It‘s worked on certain levels in the past, but it's creeping me out. These alternate universe characters are based on celebrities in our current plain of existence. They act, sing, rap, tell jokes like their Earth-footed doppelgangers. But the names have been changed to protect the innocent. It's a thin line between love and what looks like love. Really, it's just a mean crush on a fat bitch in a schoolgirl outfit. The panty-line will eventually rip; especially when said party engages in copious amounts of lower body squats.
I'm not sure what is real in Get Rich, and what is made up for the sake of entertainment value; a concocted bit of drama to push the story along. As of yet, I haven't heard the one about 50's mom being doused with gasoline and burned to death. Then again, I didn't read any of the numerous unauthorized biographies based on the rapper. I don't feel like doing the research. But if they're going to keep a congruent through line to the actual history, then why change 50's name at all? Little Caesar is his on-screen nom de plume. Not as cool as being named after a handful of pocket change, or Em's on-screen alias Rabbit for that matter.
The film does start with a bang. Quite literally. After watching the side-view mirror of an SUV vibrate over a menacing baseline, 50 and his good time buddies bust up a money laundering operation. Then we cut to 50 being shot in the street. Right before the bullet (you know, the one that gives the rapper his unique vocalized drawl) goes into the young thug's jaw, the story jump cuts to the long ago past. Where we see 50 as a kid.
Seriously. This opening prologue lasts so long; I didn't think 50 Cent was ever going to show up again. It just goes on and on, showing us 50 window shopping for sneakers (hence the title of the first single), rapping dirty lyrics for his favorite girl next door, attending his mother's funeral (ala Glitter), joining the Crack Street Team, and moving into the basement of his grandparent's house. It helps that the kid playing Fifty, Marc John Jefferies, looks exactly like Curtis Jackson. So much so, halfway through the film, I was convinced they'd somehow digitally manipulate the real thing to look like a younger version of himself. That couldn't be right, though. Marc is the better actor. At only 15 years old.
I'm not saying that Mr. Jackson can't act. He does an adequate job. He's just not very engaging. He kept making me want to yawn. We first see him in high school, and it's a little ridiculous. It's kind of like that scene in Howard Stern's Private Parts, where we see the 40-year-old disc jockey walking through the hallways of his Alma Madder. Only Howard was able to laugh and make a joke at his own expense. There's no room for yuks here. Except for the one's you'll undoubtedly be making up in your own head.
The film retains a scowl for most of its duration. After we get out of the kid phase of 50's life, we see how he became a high-ranking drug soldier, and eventually a rapper. But the later is almost an after thought. There's no real build-up or payoff. The character doesn't really seem indebted to the art of rhyme. It's like he's digging a ditch. Eminem's Rabbit actually seemed to live for writing and rapping. 50's Marcus character seems to be doing it more out of rudimentary expectations. The rapping plotline is a mandatory thread that plays like a lark. It almost comes out of nowhere. I never once got the sense that this is what he actually wanted to be doing. He might as well have been making donuts for $6.50 an hour at Winchel's. It probably would have been more exciting.
Can I say anything good about the movie? Not really. I just couldn't get into it. I know that Terrence Howard, who plays Bama in the film, Marcus' manager that he meets in jail after a brutal, gay shower stabbing that almost ends Fidy's life, was also in Hustle & Flow, this year's other "Rapper Comes Up" opus. Why is he in both of these two very similar films? I'm not sure. But I like him. He's cool. The guy probably gives the best performance on hand, damn near stealing the show...No, I take that back. He did steal it.
And about that soundtrack? It feels about as inspired as the movie...Which isn't very. The songs all sound like middling toss-offs. The have-to-have. A bunch of raps that were thrown together out of necessity more than anything else. Maybe there's something better in the actual film itself. A disclaimer did come up before opening credits that informed my small viewing audience that this wasn't the finished cut, and that temp music was in place throughout this rough edit.
This movie could have used a Donkey. If 5 Dimes had of been hustling on the street with a crack slinging Donkey, and the rest of the movie remained as is...I'd be praising it. Absolutely. A humanized animal is all that Get Rich is missing. I do like that its angered Judo Step-Moms and South Side Gangsters alike. Neither party like that now immortalized one-sheet. "Why's Fidy got that baby? Is he going to shoot it?"
Probably the most entertaining thing about the whole enterprise. Yup.
50 Cents. A baby. And a gun. Use the 12 bucks it'll take to buy a ticket, and buy the poster instead. Staring at it adds up to the better value. Even though it's a static image, it's ten times more exciting.