Get Rich or Die Tryin' Jim Sheridan

Despite the impressive presence of writer Terence Winter, executive producer of The Sopranos and writer of some of the show’s strongest and Emmy-winning episodes, this film adaptation of rapper Curtis "50 Cent” Jackson’s life is nothing more than a hilariously vacuous cash grab. Like all the cheesy aspects of Scarface distilled into a film with none of the substance that actually made that movie watchable, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ succeeds only in making Eight Mile look like Citizen Kane by comparison, and Eminem a modern-day Gregory Peck. Despite having a few powerful sequences, the film fails because of one glaring flaw: 50 Cent can’t act; he can’t even speak well. His attempts at emotion come across as disingenuous at best and amusingly hackneyed at worst. During the film’s dramatic climax, he keeps the same steely expression on his face that he’s had for the entire movie, and the audience is left to wonder if he even knows he’s being filmed. How names like Quincy Jones and Terrance Howard came to be involved in this is a question left only for the Gods. The lack of much in the way of special features gives the movie an even more abandoned quality, as if it was understood that only 15-year-old pop music fans would have any interest in this movie, and taking the time to record a commentary track was just a waste of money. The "behind the scenes” featurette is more pathetic than anything else, showing director Jim Sheridan speaking in earnest about how great his movie is while telling 50 Cent how to rap. They really meant it. Weird. Plus: Theatrical Trailer. (Paramount)