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Idle(Not so)Wild

Outkast Outkast’s long-awaited and highly anticipated musical film “Idlewild” (due in theatres Aug. 25) has been shelved for about two years. It was screened in New York this past Wednesday and the It's not BAD, just not good.

Some background: Andre 3000 plays Percival, a mortician at a funeral parlor run by his dad. When he’s not embalming corpses, he writes songs and plays piano at this 1930’s speak-easy run by his friend Rooster, played by Big Boi. As a disclaimer, I’m no movie critic but here are a few things that struck me.

-Andre and Big Boi have very little chemistry on screen but that’s no surprise considering they don’t really do music together anymore, folks. They also don’t have that many scenes together, but in the movie, they’ve been friends since they were young boys.

-Watching two actors who have a real-life relationship is quite an exercise (see “Gigli”). Although Andre 3000 and Big Boi are believable, it always felt like I was watching Andre 3000 and Big Boi on screen -- not Percival and Rooster -- meaning that the characters were poorly developed (except for Terrence Howard, the vicious villain). To be fair, the breakup rumors might have contributed to that feeling. The chemistry between Percival and his love interest Angel (played by Paula Patton) was also… strange.

-A friend of mine told me most of the songs performed in the movie were from "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below." So what’s the point of releasing a soundtrack (for a musical!) if the songs from the soundtrack aren’t in the movie?... booo

-The movie didn’t do a good job of transporting me to the 1930s. The illusion of a setting was there (the old-time cars, the parlors, the hair, the costumes) but the minor details and occurrences that are needed for such a time transformation weren’t. It kind of felt like a school play.

-The storyline wasn’t well developed. It seems like there’s supposed to be an element of grimness (Percival the mortician) mixed with the exuberance of “life in a speakeasy” but that wasn’t well executed. And the plot was rather predictable.

-Writer/director Bryan Barber tries a lot of “look what I can do” film tricks that only take away from whatever storyline there is, although some of the tricks are cool and necessary -- like the talking rooster on Rooster’s omnipresent flask.

-Good point(s): Andre and Big Boi are clearly good actors and I anticipate them getting plenty of movie roles...

In summation, a lot of people want badly for “Idlewild” to succeed -- they want it to be good because they love Outkast. In all, the movie was very well-promoted but given all the hype, it didn’t live up to expectations. Even without the hype, it would just be an "aight" movie with two crazy huge rap stars in it. I’d rather see the trailer again.

August 18, 2006 | Permalink


I just saw a screening and I agree with some of your comments. But how was Terrence Howard's character well-developed? I thought he was the most one-dimensional character in the movie. He was just a "bad guy." That was it.

I liked some of the film tricks (the slow-motion and freeze framing during the big musical numbers made them even more thrilling, I thought), and then they wisely dropped them before becoming too gimmicky, but the 2nd half really dragged.

Yeah, and the chemistry between the various relationships...weird.

Posted by: Donny B | Aug 23, 2006 2:53:26 PM

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