Eye For Film >> Movies >> Hustle & Flow (2005) Film Review
In the past few weeks I've seen a lot of really good films. This hip-hop fairy tale for the slacker generation is not one of them.
An unwieldy mix of 8 Mile and Suburbia, Hustle & Flow is the faux-edgy story of DJay, a pouty Memphis pimp with a stable of three girls to sell. There's skinny white girl Nola, with her pinched face, poor people hair and smoker's mouth; pregnant ex-ho Shug, who's as sweet as she is sweaty; and bad-tempered stripper Lexus, who touts her wares in the only joint on celluloid to prize cellulite as a sign of beauty. Someone needs to tell the director that making his actors look unattractive does not give his work automatic gritty street cred.
High school was the high point of DJay's life. It's been downhill ever since. He mutters meaningfully, "Everybody gotta have a dream". How true.
DJay's dream is to become a millionaire rap star, like local boy-made-good Skinny Black, whose heading back to town from the big city, so DJay sees his chance for a way out of his mid-life crisis. If he can only cut a demo, surely Skinny will recognise his musical genius and propel him to stardom in no time?
His cunning plan falls down because it relies on his ability to charm Skinny into listening to the demo and DJay is perhaps the most charmless individual ever born. He's so petulant and whiny that the script must have been semi-autobiographical, as anyone with any objectivity would have realised how little an audience could invest in his hopes for stardom. With the help of old school friend Clyde, DJay builds a studio in his house and gets Shug in on backing vocals.
It's a MTV co-production, featuring Ludacris, so you'd expect that someone somewhere could pull some strings and get him a decent song to sing, but no. Nor is it improved by repeated exposure.
DJay is the kind of useless twat, who has a dream but expects other people to make it come true. In a rare moment of ballsiness, Nola asks him, "What exactly is it that you DO?" There is no answer.
I'd really like to end this review on a positive note, but Hustle & Flow is so derivative, irritating and pointless that I just can't. It won the audience award at Sundance. How?Reviewed on: 11 Nov 2005