Written by / 8/15/2015 / No comments / , , ,

REVIEW OF STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

2015 rating: **1/2
Paul Giamatti is no stranger to playing sly manipulators of naïve yet successful musicians... Not after his venomous turn as Brian Wilson's con artist doctor in LOVE & MERCY and now, as "Gangsta Rap" pioneer Eazy-E's mentor/manager Jerry Heller, he's gone full throttle into jerk-off stratosphere yet he starts out nice and helpful: It's the overlong process of everyone else... from Ice Cube to Dr. Dre... figuring out the man that turns what could have been an edgy urban biopic into a music biz SOCIAL NETWORK given the distracting bias of the two surviving members (also the producers) of groundbreaking rap unit NWA, derived from the city we hardly see enough of...

Beyond a rushed ghetto backstory, a few neat glimpses into the studio recording process and THE DOORS style "Say that and be sorry" problems on stage, much of the film takes place in either stuffy backroom meetings or rip roaring mansion parties where all conversations center on bitterness and business. Meanwhile, despite the restricted access into genuine "character" development, the three lead actors do a pretty decent job: Ice Cube's real life son, O'Shea Jackson Jr., has his old man's scowl and voice down pat; Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre wields effective vulnerability despite being ultimately lost in the shuffle; while Jason Mitchell's Eazy-E turns in the best performance simply because he's loved, then hated, then loved again: providing the actor plenty to react to and against, stretching beyond limited propaganda centering more on post-fame financial struggles than the struggles that catapulted the music. Perhaps their controversial song should have been titled F**K THE ACCOUNTANTS!
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