Review Date: December 23, 2005
Director: Craig Brewer
Writer: Craig Brewer
Producers: John Singleton, Stephanie Allain
Terrence Howard as DJay
Taryn Manning as Nola
Anthony Anderson as Key
Of course, the film is nothing without the obvious vision from writer/director Craig Brewer, but the truth is that lead actor, Terrence Howard, might have as much to do with the film’s strength, with a career-best performance that truly digs deep inside the soul of a friggin’ pimp, and oddly enough, makes us feel his pain and frustration. That’s right…by the end of this film, I was rootin’ for a goddamn pimp, man…that’s impressive! But that’s not all. The rest of the cast also comes through with well-rounded street-walkers (yeah, you heard me!) like Taryn Manning and Taraj Henson (her “thank you” scene will break your heart) also fleshing out their secondary roles. I know this might be a hard thing to fathom, but the film even provides for a little empowerment of the ladies, which I’m always for! Yeah, I realize that last line doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense when you consider that the film is centered around a pimp and his hookers, but you gotta believe in that “we’re all human beings” thang, and ultimately, you have to go into a movie like this with an open heart and mind, and even moreso, a willingness to look for the best in everything and everyone. Add to that, a number of surprising cast-mates including a serious Anthony Anderson, a not-so-goofy DJ Qualls and an effective Ludacris? Yeah, you heard me!
I don’t know, maybe I’m just a sucka for films that exemplify this one’s tagline of “Everybody gotta have a dream”, but at the end of the day…really, what else you got, right? Considering the number of sequels and crap that we’ve been forced to watch coming out of Hollywood over the past few years, I’m more than happy to recommend a wholly original take on the old tale of the underdog, with plenty of profanity, naughtiness and “street reality” padding an effective narrative about a man, his dreams, his fears and eventually, his no-holds barred “cajones” to make things happen in his life. And yeah, I teared up like a bitch during a handful of touching scenes…got a problem with that!?