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Back to Home >  Entertainment >  Movies  >  Bruce Newman >

Bruce Newman's Sundance Journal





Thursday, January 27, 2005

Pimp On a Roll

A mini-controversy has erupted around the best dramatic movie I've seen so far, Craig Brewer's "Hustle & Flow," and it has nothing to do with references to women as "bitches" in need of frequent "whupping."

No, "Hustle & Flow" bears the taint of something considered far worse in these rarified precincts: big money. It was picked up by Paramount and MTV over the weekend for a reported $9 million, part of a multi-picture deal with producer John Singleton. Anything that makes that much dough is viewed with suspicion here.

The story of a Memphis pimp who decides he wants to make a career change and become a rap singer, the movie has more heart--and a lot more soul--than most of the meticulously wrought genre deconstructions that dominate the program here. It features an impressive performance by Terrence Howard as Djay, who pours his heart into a song titled "It's Hard for a Pimp." He's not kidding.

"Hustle & Flow" throbs with the indie spirit, and yet it has rubbed some purists the wrong way because of its $2.8 million budget. Never mind that almost every square inch of Park City is covered with the corporate logos of festival fatcats, the filmmakers are supposed to make magic with their credit cards.

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