Not every rapper-ternt-actor (or music mogul, that means you Diddy) who flies out to Hollyhood deserves an invitation to be on screen, this we know. (I’m not even gonna mention how I cringed watching Diddy “act” in A Raisin in the Sun.) But they go anyway, knowing good and well that very few rappers have been able to catch fire, with the exception of Mr. Smith, the Queen, Mos and even Luda. The jury is still out deliberating about Common’s acting chops, so we’ll save critical praise or sidesplitting giggles until Terminator Salvation hits theaters. For the record, Com didn’t have a big enough role in Wanted to really rate his skills and the same goes for American Gangster.
Which leads me to X, not Mr. “Get At me Dog,” the other X, the one famous for hosting a show that transforms hoopties into pimped out rides and is broadcast in 40 countries. In American Violet, Xzibit plays the baby daddy role to Dee, a 24-year-old chick who is falsely accused of selling drugs. The flick, if you don’t know, is based on a true story and exposes the inequities in our justice system. (What, really? You mean everything is not fair, equal and balanced in the good ol’ US of A?) Set in Melody, Texas, X’s babies’ moms is given two choices: plead guilty to the charge or roll the dice in court and risk doing football numbers in prison. Oh, and if Dee gets locked up, her four children won’t be given to Xzibit’s character, but dumped in foster care. Nice.
Even as I tick off the films on X’s resume¬¬–XXX, Derailed, X-Files and Gridiron Gang—he has yet to impress me as an actor. I know, I know, everyone can’t rock the old man naps and cry convincingly like Will Smith in the Pursuit of Happyness. I just hate when a director sticks a rapper in a film, who should clearly stick to rapping, welding or cementing, just to increase the coins at the box office. But in American Violet, I doubt if anyone is rushing out to see X, so that may not be the case here.
I just hope that X holds up his end of the screen, especially opposite newcomer Nicole Behaire. Free tix to the screening escaped my desk, but I’m happy to pay money, even in a recession, to see this flick. Peep the trailers. They’re pretty nutz, specifically, Behaire’s performance. The ink isn’t even dry on her Juilliard diploma and she’s acting as if her life depends on it. (Check out the trailer where she’s about to bash Xzbit’s car.) Even crotchety film critic Rex Reed was impressed with the film and chick’s skills. Guess I’ll have to wait until Friday to see X’s performance.–Miss One