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Not Even Worth 50 Cents
Get Rich or Die Tryin' (DVD)
Member Name: kenjohn
Get Rich or Die Tryin' (DVD)
Disadvantages: Poorly made, poorly acted.
FILM REVIEW ONLY
Generally speaking "Get Rich Or Die Tryin" (2005) wouldn't be my type of movie, but my teenage daughter wanted to watch it, and the fact that it was directed by Jim Sheridan, the excellent Irish director, made me think it couldn't be all bad. How wrong I was!
On paper, this film just had to be a winner. It followed the somewhat unexpected success of the 2003 movie "8 Mile" starring Eminem which instead of turning out to be some sort of self-praising vanity project turned out to be an engrossing yarn about somebody pulling themselves up by their bootstraps after a less than privileged childhood.
I suppose it was Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson's less than salubrious background that might have swung Jim Sheridan to take on this project. A former drug dealer who ended up being shot no less than nine times but who then went on to make a successful career as a hip-hop star is a scriptwriter and director's dream. Indeed, the movie also had a very successful scriptwriter in Terence Winter, who wrote the highly acclaimed TV series the "Sopranos".
The film supposedly takes very little dramatic license with Marcus Jackson's life story, and is about 80% accurate. It opens by showing us Jackson as he is getting ready to mount a heist on a Colombian drug gang's hideout. The robbery goes according to plan and Marcus drives back to his grandmother's house, but here his luck runs out and he ends up being shot a number of times as he gets out of his car.
The movie then enters flashback mode, and we see Jackson's unfortunate childhood; growing up with no father in the household, the death of his drug-dealing mother, his own introduction into a life of crime, and his abiding love of hip-hop and his girlfriend Charlene (Joy Bryant) who has loved since he was a kid.
Quite why Jim Sheridan chose this project as a follow-up to his superb Oscar-nominated movie about Irish immigration to the USA, "In America" is hard to fathom, other than the fact that he seems to enjoy directing movies about the underdog making good in life. Unfortunately he seems to have chosen a real turkey in Get Rich Or Die Tryin' not least because Curtis Jackson simply isn't an actor. He may look good and be a highly acclaimed and successful hip-hop star, but he has the screen presence of a sleeping seagull and simply couldn't cut it in the lead role, even if it was his own life story. The other actors, Terrence Howard as his friend Bama and Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the bitter and twisted drug lord Majestic, act him off the screen and show him up as the amateur he truly is.
The only time you actually feel a shred of sympathy for Marcus is in the early childhood scenes of the movie. Once he enters adulthood and no matter how desperate the situation he finds himself in all you end up worrying about is how much longer you are going to have to put up with this self-indulgent crap.
If you're a fan of Jim Sheridan's movies then I'd advise you to give this one a wide berth. (I'm sure he's doing his level best to forget it himself!) And even if you're a fan of '50 Cent' Jackson's music you'd be better advised to go and spend your money on one of his CD's rather than totally waste it on this dreadful movie.
Director: Jim Sheridan
Starring: Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, Joy Bryant, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Terrence Howard, Marc John Jeffries and Bill Nunn.
Running Time: 117 minutes
Summary: One to avoid at all costs.