Usually, when musicians try to act and vice versa, the result is terrible. That’s how we got such crap like Cool as Ice starring Vanilla Ice and an album by Bruce Willis that no one ever asked for. But this film starring Eminem was a surprise: he was actually quite good. Whether or not that’s just because he was playing a character that was essentially himself doesn’t matter. The movie is still great. And the best part is you don’t have to be an Eminem fan to enjoy it.
The story is pretty engrossing. Jimmy “B-Rabbit” is an aspiring rapper who has a shit job, a junkie mom who is dating one of his schoolmates, and no one will take him seriously because of his skin color. Like I said, it’s very similar to Eminem’s own life story, which fans knew the gist of from his songs, but it’s a different experience seeing it played out before you.. There are moments when you laugh, moments where you go “ouch,” and moments where you cringe…particularly the sex scene with Brittany Murphy…at least I did. It also doesn’t hurt that Eminem has a pretty good supporting cast. Kim Basinger as Rabbit’s mom, Mekhi Phifer as his best friend, and the aforementioned Brittany Murphy as his love interest. They all do a good job in their respective rolls, but my favorite is Basinger. She did an excellent job playing the neglectful mother who you can’t decide whether she loves or hates her son.
My favorite parts are the rap battles that take place during the film. Some of them featuring the rapper have his best rhymes. I’m always blown away whenever I see them. My favorite one has to be the last one with Poppa Doc where he basically takes away his power to make fun of him. The rap battle at his job is also interesting because there’s a line where he tells Xzibit “And why you fucking with the gay guy, G? When you’re the one with the HIV.” I find it interesting because to me that’s a clear sign that Eminem is not homophobic, but at this time he was still getting those accusations. Anyway, the raps are awesome and not just the ones Eminem does. The guys Jimmy goes up against have some really good comebacks and really good flow, so it’s not like the filmmakers put him up against weak people.
Overall, it’s a really good movie and one that still holds up ten years later. The acting is actually good, the story is great, and the rapping is even better. Whether you’re an Eminem fan or are just looking for a good movie to watch on a Friday night indoors, you should take some time out and watch this film. It’s worth it for the rap battles alone.