You'll die trying to endure Fitty’s story

    What is it about reigning G-Unit king Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson that keeps us coming back for more? Could it be his hypnotizing, monotone tales of dirty sex and counting cash? Or his nine legendary bullet wounds carved in solid, tattooed gangsta muscle? Perhaps it’s the notion that at any minute 50 could be victim to a pack of angry business partners from his ghetto days. Whatever it is, his fans are eating it up like candy.

    Now, on top of two multiplatinum records, a clothing line and more MTV airtime than the rest of his competition combined, 50 Cent has decided to take on Hollywood and expose the dramatic past whose lyrical references have so far upheld his thug reputation. “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” (named after 50’s first album and directed by Jim Sheridan of “In America”) tells the story of a young Curtis Jackson, abandoned by his father and tragically parted from his mother upon her brutal murder. Crowded and penniless conditions at his grandparents’ house soon whet Jackson’s appetite for fortune, so he turns to street dealing for some quick cash.

    A few crack crystals and bloody sidewalks later, the game catches up with a now-street seasoned Jackson and he is put behind bars. It is in prison that the future rap superstar meets his comic-relieving manager Bama (Terrence Howard), who sees promise somewhere in 50’s flat rhymes and forever converts him from a life of crime to a life of rhyme.

    It’s all too easy to compare 50’s silver screen debut with Eminem’s autobiographical “8 Mile” –– each, with the help of a very un-hip-hop but previously successful dramatic director, depicts an adversity-challenged rap talent who rises from rags to riches by pursuing his dream. But there is one significant difference: Eminem’s film is jam packed with skillful, high-intensity freestyles and an obvious love for his craft, whereas 50 (though undeniably harder than Em) pursues a hip-hop career mainly because it’s a safer and higher-paying route to success.

    Aside from a few X-rated verses he writes for childhood crush Charlene (later his baby’s mama, played by Joy Bryant), the then-dubbed “Young Caesar” never really devotes any time to his art and instead obsessively fixates on the cash flow. His success as a hip-hop artist is almost a side note to apparently more important things, like how many times he’s been shot. Sadly, fans will probably be too immersed in his dumb stare and bulletproof vest to take this blatant clue that their icon can’t really rap (or act, for that matter) and is basically here to suck every last quarter out of their pockets.

    If you insist on contributing to his cause, his film does have its highlights. He delivers some chuckle-worthy disses and a surprising booty shot a la prison shower fight. You got to give it to him –– he knows how to make money. Hate it or love it, this is 50’s world, and we’re just living in it.

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