Yes, another teen movie. The only difference is that ATL, which hit theaters March 31st, is a representative of hip hop culture. Clifford “Tip” Harris, better known as T.I., is more believable as an actor than certain facets of the film itself.
Four high school friends try to find themselves a place in life while they resist the temptation of the streets and the lure of their Atlanta hood.
The cast is made up of first timers to the big screen who impressively capture their character’s essence on film. Rashad (T.I.) and his brother Ant, (Evan Ross) are forced to live with their uncle because of the loss of their parents in a car accident.
Ant soon chooses to veer away from the guidance of his big brother to join forces with the infamous drug dealer, Marcus (Antwan “Big Boi” Patton from Out Kast), who outshines Rashad’s persona.
To top off the predictability of that aspect, no Hollywood film is complete without a love interest. Rashad falls for the seemingly ghetto fabulous New-New.
Taking hold of opportunities that involve his drawing capabilities seems like an attainable future through support from his new found love. He soon finds out that New-New is not the good girl from “around the way.”
The character Erin, however, is actually the daughter of Mr. Garnett (Keith David), who left the hood to become a millionaire CEO and never looked back. Rashad’s friend, Esquire, uncovers New-New’s true identity while buttering up Mr.Garnett for a letter of recommendation to complete his application for an Ivy League University.
Later in the movie Ant is lying in a hospital bed recovering from Patton’s gun shot wound. Rashad then realizes that he can’t trust anyone.
The roller skating rink, Cascade, is where the film gains the most momentum. Video director Chris Robinson captures the fundamental nature of hip hop teens’ typical Sunday night out on the town.
In the film, New-New buys into the teen culture of the latest fashions, cutest partners and need for skills on the floor as different crews battle the night away at the rink.
ATL is a teen film that fails to remain realistic in the script. The real Antwone Fisher, Will Smith and Tion “T-Boz” Watkins are a few big names involved in the creation of the film who should know that any smart boy from the hood would have used Erin as a way out and held on to her for dear life, which the audience learns is not the case in ATL.
Sherice Brammer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.