This may come as no surprise to most people, but Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ is the unintentional comedy of the year. 50 Cent is more or less a comic book character in and of himself.
A former criminal who served time and had a life altering experience when, on the brink of rap stardom, he was shot nine times, 50 is an exaggerated cartoon character of a man who seems to always make it his mission in life to take every “gangster rapper” stereotype, good or bad, to previously unheard of levels.
The movie is like a cinematic version of the man. It takes every cliche involved in these sorts of movies and shoves it into a painfully manufactured, absurdly manipulative fictionalized version of 50’s life. On top of that, a generally well respected director (In America’s Jim Sheridan) was procured to make the whole thing happen.
We follow Marcus (50 Cent) through his entire life during the absurdly bloated 130-minute running time of the movie. We start with the violent death of his mother at a young age, then we move onto his early attempts to sell drugs so he can buy a new pair of shoes, and go through his jail time, his life altering near death experience, and his subsequent reinvention as a rap phenomenon.
We are also saddled with a bunch of varyingly obligatory supporting characters. We have the rediscovered childhood love interest who is at the same time disapproving and quietly supportive of Marcus’s way of life (Joy Bryant), and the crime boss and father figure (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who is so obviously two faced and evil it’s sort of insulting.
The most interesting character in the entire movie is Marcus’s prison buddy Bama (played by this year’s breakout star Terence Howard). Bama is a fascinating character. He is a loose cannon one minute and a caring friend the next. His character and performance belong in a better movie, not this hackneyed piece of garbage.
Beyond the bad melodrama, creaky plot movements, and offensively bad acting, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ is also unpleasant on a whole different level. There is no purpose for the movie. 8 Mile did a decent job of making Eminem’s story feel worth telling. Here, it feels like we’re watching a 50 Cent infomercial designed to do nothing more than to make him new fans and to give his old fans another way to fork over their money.
This movie is essentially nothing more than an excuse to trot out a soundtrack album. How Jim Sheridan got involved with this back-patting affair is anyone’s guess, but his classy direction is completely out of place in this sub-par film.
Having high expectations walking into a movie like this is probably a horrible idea, but there is really no level in which this movie is not a letdown. Even 50 himself is painful to watch. His grasp of the English language is frankly disturbing at times, so it’s easy to imagine his skill level as a thespian. Perhaps after this mess he’ll realize it’s probably not a good idea to leave his day job.
Chuck DelRoss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.