A Mixed "Mix"
My very first impression of Hustle & Flow was that it was in entirely too much of a hurry to get its plot started. When any main character goes gaga over any object related to creativity (a cheap music keyboard in this case) in the first ten minutes, you know exactly what the rest of the movie is about. When that character is a criminal, you know what sort of obstacles will be cropping up too.
In this case, our musical wunderkind is a pimp, living in Memphis with his three hos (well, he's involved with the pregnant one, but that may not change the terminology here). He thinks he can rap, and the film suggests he's actually fairly good at it - my own judgment is lukewarm, but this falls under the general realm of suspending disbelief. He talks an old school pal into producing his music, and things simply develop from there.
There's some good acting here, but the script is just a little obsessed with moving the plot points along, leaving less room for exploring the characters than there should be in a piece like this. Several times, the film tips its hand about what is coming - it's so predictable at times that there's nothing to do but cringe as the obvious unfolds. Another couple drafts and some more hands-off directing and this could have been a strong, if unsurprising entry in its genre, but as it is, the fine acting performances are left wallowing in a tepid sea of blandness.
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