‘Idlewild’ Movie Review (2006)

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Idlewild Movie ReviewI’m very sad right now and since you’ve tuned into my Idlewild review you get to hear why. The simple reason is I really wanted to like this one. I love Outcast. I’ve even claimed (against all reason and logic) that Andre 3000 is the next big thing on the acting scene. I’ve followed them since they were slamming Cadillac doors, all the way through Baghdad and Ms. Jackson. I’ve stayed loyal through songs about not wanting to be your mother, but rather wanting to make you enjoy sexual pleasure. And frankly I was prepared for a musical too; I liked Chicago and Moulin Rouge even though they were a little girly, and I was pumped to see two rappers take on the genre. So it is with the heaviest of hearts that I report they maimed this project, poked its eyes out and then kicked it as it lay screaming on the floor. It was a real butcher job, nasty business that I hope you don’t sit through.

Idlewild, GA is the setting. Andre 3000 plays a mortician (and a mortician’s son) who moonlights as a piano player at “The Church,” the hottest little nightclub in Georgia (which presumably would put it among the top one million in the world). Big Boi plays his lifelong friend who sings at the club and has four or five kids. It’s not really clear what Big does for a living, although a life of bootlegging is hinted at. A dynamic dame comes to the club to sing, people get killed, club ownership transferred, more bootlegging, and a heartwarming tale of poop emanates.

The two main issues I have with Idlewild are that it’s 1) Unbelievably boring and 2) Crazy cliched. The boredom is astounding because the songs actually slow down the movie. I still don’t have a firm grasp on how this happened, shouldn’t the songs be the one highlight? I mean, even if Outkast can’t put together a coherent script or story (they can’t) shouldn’t the songs be of the normal jubilant fashion? Amazingly, no, that’s not the case as the songs are usually bad and/or impossible to hear. Oh yeah, sometimes they also have nothing to do with the plot. If they were going to head that route why not just give us Ms. Jackson and call it good?

Now, as for the cliche cadre, it will rip your heart out Mortal Kombat style. You simply won’t believe some of the juvenile dialogue about “wanting to make it” or love in general. A jarring love scene is thrown in, maybe to elicit giggles if you were high (and if you choose to see this you’d BETTER be). Everything goes exactly to how you’d plan it if you only had a couple days to bang out a script, but these boys had their whole lives. No excuses my former man crushes, no excuses.

Don’t see Idlewild. Don’t you do it. And if you do, don’t come crying back to me. If you want the reasons I gave it a D instead of an F, if you’re truly a glass half full type of person, it had a cool opening sequence, some decent dancing shots and I liked the concept (before seeing the execution). It’s also a different sort of movie than normal (musical) which I usually give a little credit for. It’s just sad that I had to take so much credit away after seeing it as Idlewild remains far more Idle than Wild.

GRADE: D