Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005) Jim Sheridan

Production Budget: $40 million
Worldwide Gross: $33 million

Just doing some research on this movie I could not believe this movie getting SLAMMED by the people on IMDb.  Usually IMDb is pretty forgiving to movies so it was strange that I went through pages and pages of 1 star reviews.  All of the reviews basically revolved around Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson: he is a flash in the pan singer, he is not a real artist, rap is destroying America, 50 Cent is the worst actor ever, blah blah blah…

The movie is a loose (very loose) autobiographical account of Jackson’s life.  Jackson plays Marcus and his later rap persona of Little Caesar.  Marcus grows up as a drug dealer, then later when he is incarcerated, turns his life around for his family and writes rap music condemning the drug dealer he worked for.

Immediately when you think of this movie you think of 8 Mile.  8 Mile succeeded and was good where everyone frankly thought it would suck.  The biggest surprise was probably the fact Eminem wasn’t embarrassing on the big screen.  Now I am not going to be talking about Curtis Jackson as an actor because he isn’t.  All Sheridan wanted was for Jackson to play Jackson just like Eminem played Eminem.  The problem is Curtis Jackson is not an interesting and compelling person to look at.  Eminem kind of has a showman persona as a rapper and that translated well to the big screen.  50 Cent however, always has a deadpan, sleepy eyed face and does not express any emotion at any time.  He shuffles around on screen like a zombie and mumbles and slurs his lines to the point I needed subtitles to really get everything he was saying.  Now he is more animated in his rap concert (which we never really see him in action) and the events in his life are interesting, but the man himself is about as interesting as watching paint dry.  The writers try to explain there is more to him and that he is some storm of emotions hiding behind a stoic exterior.  But when he is in just about every scene and he is the MAIN CHARACTER, and he shuffles around everywhere like a mindless automaton, it is just disastrous for your movie.  I am not objecting on the basis of his music (I haven’t heard it so I can’t really tell) or the fact we are glorifying a gangster.  I think Sheridan does an alright job of showing 50 turning his life around to be a good father for his child.  I object that he cannot be the driving force of a movie.

The story is your standard rags to riches success story and it really makes me wonder what drew Sheridan to this story.  There are some nice scenes about the realities of being a drug dealer but for the most part, this is a story we have seen a million times before.  This movie has Terrence Howard, and it just reminded me I would rather be watching Hustle and Flow instead of this.  What is also odd about this movie is a strange murder mystery subplot.  50’s mother is killed early in his childhood and throughout this movie 50 is trying to find out who killed her.  This is a bizarre addition and sticks out in the context of the rest of the movie.  And the movie just kind of ends and it isn’t as satisfying as it should be.  And I have to ask again: why did Sheridan want to make this movie?

You all know how this movie plays out without even watching it.  Get Rich or Die Tryin’ does not take any risks and it is frankly dull because of it.  Now this isn’t a horrible movie.  There were some parts that I kind of liked.  But there is nothing that makes it stand out and nothing that I can really recommend it for.  Its utterly bland and forgettable.


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