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Reviews & Ratings for
Hustle & Flow More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good version of a clichéd story

Author: (dj_bassett) from Philadelphia
31 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Small time pimp and drug dealer decides to screw on his courage and make a big push to become a rap star. Basically a very traditional, even corny story, tricked out in urban gear: but scrape away the pimps and hos and you're not all that far removed from something Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland might do. The performances help push the material past the clunky spots: I agree with all of the plaudits for Mr. Howard, in particular. He's a charismatic actor and he makes you feel the pain and frustration of his character's life. He helps bring life to the cliché. Movie staggers a bit in making Howard's character unusually kind and charming for a pimp and drug dealer, and structurally it's adherence to formula means it'll never go beyond a certain level. But for what it is, it's quite good, with some real nice stretches of dialog and some fine acting up and down the line. Recommended to those who like this kind of story.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I liked it. Well worth the admission price, however there are some weaknesses.

Author: aoa-2 from United States
28 July 2005

Dislikes: 1. We never see the Pimp sell any weed, yet he gives this wad of money to his supplier. His women don't pull down that much that's why he's poor, so there is a gap in the logic since he's such an unsuccessful Pimp. I think this could have been treated better by the writer or director. 2. In real life, Pimps beat there woman and not hard core rap stars. So this was fairytale like. This character could well have been a working stiff with more than one woman and then the love/hate relationship with his women would have worked. I suppose the character had to be Pimp for Hollywood to bite. 3. Inconsistency of camera work and cinematography. I think the grainy poor quality could have worked in this film IF it had been consistent. I think it would have given it almost a "period piece" mood. As it was it comes across somewhat annoying.

Likes: 1. Excellent performances by the ENTIRE cast! 2. Overall directing 3. Excellent casting 4. Exposing the poverty and living conditions to such an extent 5. Except for the weed issue, the level of detail to the people and environment. Even the powder on Suggs chest on that hot day. Very country but accurate!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Yeah, Memphis IS That Hot

Author: ptcan from United States
23 July 2005

Decent film that accurately captures how the less than wealthy Memphians scramble, and plot to survive. Of course, most hustlers here think they can rap and most of them can't. I thought Djay was a pretty "nice guy" pimp and his women looked pretty good compared to most of the street hookers around here. Nice knock against folks in this town who make it and then forget where they are from. The store, the neighborhood, and the bar are all for real have a familiar look. The people who populate the film are also pretty realistic. My only beef was that you pretty much knew how it was going to play but at least Craig Brewer is trying to do the 70's tribute without the Tarentino vibe. I loved the beat up car with the nice rims you see that here all the time and yeah that white trash low rent look is all in here.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Player's Ball

Author: dee.reid from United States
22 July 2005

I guess the old saying "Every dog has its day" is true but also perhaps no more in a way than it can be applied to Southern hustlers and pimps. "Hustle & Flow," written and directed by Craig Brewer, is a movie about that one shot. It's about how everybody's got a dream, and they only get one chance to grasp it and hold on to it.

From the outset, this could have been a laughable, if not completely stereotypical "gangsta hustla" flick about aimless Memphis layabouts who attempt to brighten their dim outlook on life through hip-hop. In all respects, from the advertisements on television, that's what it appears to be but when you actually see the movie in action, a whole new dimension is revealed.

"Hustle & Flow" flows through its story the same way most "dream" movies do but somewhere in there, we get a genuine feel for the characters and their motivations, and an especially profound performance from lead actor Terrence Dashon Howard as DJay, a Southern hustler who suddenly finds himself writing rhymes almost every minute of the day.

As I write this, I'm still humming the words in my head ("Whoop that trick! Whoop that trick!"). Of course with those words, come sounds and with the sounds come images, powerful ones. The makings of a truly good rap song, in my view, originate in deep meaningful words that are written from the heart, and that's how DJay's lyrics flow. (I'm aware his lyrics are hardly inspiring, but you get the idea.)

As the Southern hustler/pimp in a mid-life crisis, the mode is turned on for DJay when a junkie sells him one of those old Casio electronic keyboards. He toys around with it for a little bit, as he remembers that he had one himself when he was little boy but soon a light switches on, and DJay is tossing around lyrics like a football.

He presents his ideas to an old high school buddy, Clyde a.k.a. "Key" (Anthony Anderson, in a nice turn-around role from his usual comedic antics), who currently records demos for his church. When DJay first pitches his plan to him, Key is discreet, "A lot of people talk the talk, but don't walk the walk," as he at first believes he's not serious. Key's wife Yevette (Elise Neal) isn't especially happy by this sudden turn of events for her husband but he's profoundly touched, as is DJay, by the sound, and the two are quickly chanting "Whoop that trick!" like it's the Gospels, but Yevette is at least supportive enough to remind them that even they have to eat dinner.

Meanwhile, DJay must also contend with the worrisome troubles of his current reality, from live-in stripper Lexus (Paula Jai Parker) and her baby son, both of whom he eventually throws out of the house, to his pregnant ('ho, or main girlfriend? I'm not sure) Shug (Taraji P. Henson), who eventually sings the chorus of his demo, and Nola (Taryn Manning), who also aspires to do something else with her life. Together, with Clyde and white boy disc jockey Shelby (DJ Qualls), everybody, in a fashion much like a family, begin recording demos left and right with a makeshift studio in DJay's house.

"Hustle & Flow" is pleasantly surprising in a way that a lot of black-themed movies aren't anymore. It has a genuine spirit that's carried on the shoulders of its lead performer, Terrence Dashon Howard, who speaks with that unique Southern hustler drawl and slang that makes his character all the more realistic and believable. He's simply brilliant in this role, as I've heard he's no stranger to music himself and his lyrics in this film seem so inspired you'd think he has a shot at a career as a rap star.

What all of their hard work eventually culminates in, of course, is a chance meeting with a rapper from Memphis who managed to blow up and is featured prominently on television and such; his name is Skinny Black (real-life rapper Ludicrous), who DJay insists he attended school with. DJay sees the opportunity on July 4th to slide Skinny Black his demo tape and have him put the thing on the radio.

"Hustle & Flow" ends on a note of deep profundity. Does DJay blow up and become the huge star he wants to be? I won't tell, but the movie ends in such a way you'd think it was true about people with dreams. Key says that life doesn't always pan out the way it should for some people, but that also, sometimes, it does. The thing about it is, he's right.

Note: As a fan of rap, it is true what Shelby says about how much of popular music arose from or originated in the South (in addition to a lot of good rappers), from Arrested Development, to Outkast, to the Geto Boys, to Ludicrous himself (whom I'm no big fan of).

Note #2: Yes, I'm aware that "Ludicrous" is typed correctly; it gets auto-corrected by IMDb for some reason so please just ignore the spelling.


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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

What a shame!

Author: chatbada from France
8 March 2007

This is a real shame! This film has a LOT OF QUALITIES : the acting is good, as well as the photography and even the story is not so, what's wrong? First, there are too many problems with the montage : so many time, you feel that a scene could be shorter, because what is shown is not so interesting, or because what is meant at a time is so obvious that it could be just suggested and shorten but not shown entirely. And that is to me, the worst waste in this film. Especially for a musical movie, rhythm is the key, and here, it lacks rhythm, which, pardon me, for a rap movie is a kind of paradox, isn't it? The second weak point, is about the acting : I agree that THE ACTORS ARE EXCELLENT, but you feel sorry for them, as the direction missed to bring some changes, some variations in their acting, so without those variations you get more and more tired, even with the best actors. So, because I am not a modest person, I will say as an advice for everybody here that want to make a film for me:0) be more suggestive, and never forget VARIATIONS, and Rhythm!!!!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

acting good but....

Author: MLDinTN from TN
10 February 2007

story sort of boring. I didn't think this was that great of a film. Yes, Terrence Howard gives a good acting performance, but I didn't find the movie that entertaining since it doesn't have much of a plot. It's about a pimp who just has a couple of girls he pimps out of his car. He wants to become a rapper like one of the guys he grew up with. He runs into an old friend who is in the recording business and gets him to record some songs. He gets into some trouble at the end, but still gets his music played on the radio. I don't really find a pimp to be someone to root for.

Since I'm not much of a fan of rap, I didn't care for all the music in this. Plus, it has a lot of unnecessary cursing I didn't care for.

FINAL VERDICT: Over hyped. But, if you like rap, I recommend it.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Never Stop Dreaming

Author: native_girl333 from Finland
26 August 2006

I was very pleasantly surprised with "Hustle & Flow". I expected some heavy booty shaking and bling bling-stuff but the movie had more profound soul than its surface did tell.

Djay (soulful Terrence Howard) is a pimp. Beside this not so rosy job he has a dream to become famous singer. With some help with right people might make his dream come true...

I have never been a big fan of rap music. When I first heard the Oscar-winning song: "It's Hard To Be a Pimp" I thought that the other Academy Award nominated songs were much better. Nevertheless the song was much much better when I heard it while watching the movie. It was definitely a theme song of the film. The other music in the film was also great. I never thought I'd hear myself say that! "Hustle & Flow" is touching, funny and entertaining musical drama. It is a story from rags to richness. This time you really hope that the lead character will make it. Djay is very sympathetic man who really wants make his dream come true and not only for the money. Respect and dignity are more important things than possessions.

High recommends!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Definitely Real

Author: jobeblanc from Panama
15 August 2006

Earthy cast of characters plays a simple story very well. Exceptional character development. Writer-director Craig Brewer wrings star performances out of his team of actors.

This very contemporary Afro-American striving musician story goes much deeper, and it is as gritty as it is funny. The story dwells along the thin edge of Memphis street culture, and you feel the edge - like a shard of glass - and just how fragile and jagged it is.

The characters "will" the plot along, from moment to moment, from scene to scene. Every moment is fresh.

Craig Brewer and most of this cast are artists to watch. Remarkable performances and film gems like this are career foundations.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful! A well rounded debut from Craig Brewer!

Author: JC Cocker from United States
14 August 2006

For what it is, it is wonderful. A look in to the life of a pimp with the gift of rap told with a well polished flow from Memphis director Craig Brewer. The overall conflict of the story could be thought of as bubblegum but the execution of it is engaging and heart warming. The soundtrack was awesome. I couldn't believe how good the music was in the film. The music by itself was worth the admission. I loved the dialogue. It's creative and clever without being contrived. You find yourself rooting for the pimp and justifying anything he has to do to get himself heard. Luckily, our hero is a good person and it's not a stretch to be on his side. The pacing runs at a good clip. Every scene moves the story forward. I love the trailers they made for the flick. They were shot separate from the movie and just as entertaining. It's one of my favorites. I can't help but root for a Writer/Director from the mid-south on his first big feature.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Oscar Award Worthy

Author: jareduf from United States
25 July 2006

Hustle and Flow is different from other movies within this genre. Terrence Howard plays a pimp named Djay but wants something different from his life. When he meets up with his friend from high-school(played by Anthony Anderson), Djay gets an idea of trying to become a rapper through the help of his friend (a producer of church music). While most movies with this kind of theme feature star rappers who can't act as the lead role, Howard takes his character to a new level. Howard takes you inside the mind of Djay and the audience is able to see that his character is more than just a filthy pimp. That he actually in a weird way cares a lot for the girls who work for him. Djay wants to offer these girls a better life as well. But, in order to fulfill his dream, it will take more than just hard work. He will also need some luck.

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