(director/writer: Bryan Barber; cinematographer: Pascal Rabaud; editor: Anne Goursaud; music: John Debney; cast: Antwan ‘Big Boi’ Patton (Rooster), Andre Benjamin (Percival Jenkins), Paula Patton (Angel Davenport), Terrence Howard (Trumpy), Faizon Love (Sunshine Ace), Patti LaBelle (The Real Angel Davenport), Macy Gray (Taffy), Ben Vereen (Percy Senior), Cicely Tyson (Mother Hopkins); Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Charles Roven/Robert Guralnick; Universal Picttures; 2006)
“The only hope for saving the humorless Idlewild is the atmospheric speak-easy setting, the great dancing numbers and the chill soundtrack.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The only hope for saving the humorless Idlewild is the atmospheric speak-easy setting, the great dancing numbers and the chill soundtrack. The story is a mess. It’s directed and written by OutKast’s Bryan Barber.
In the 1930s, in a rural Georgia town, during Prohibition, Percival (Andre Benjamin) embalms corpses by day for his father’s (Ben Vereen) funeral parlor and at night works as a singer-piano player at the black speak-easy run by his childhood gangster friend Rooster (Big Boi).
The film goes no where with all its ill-advised conceits (like an animated hip flask), as it’s unable to emerge as either a gangster film or a soulful melodrama or a hip-hop musical. It’s a film where there’s a corpse who arises from the dead in a mortuary to belt out a lively number.Terrence Howard’s performance as the ruthless silky smooth gangster, the eventual speak-easy owner, is clearly the best acting job in the film.
REVIEWED ON 4/16/2018 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/