Release Date: October 28th, 2005 (NYC) by Andrew Lauren Productions.
The Cast: Richard T. Jones, Blair Underwood, Chenoa Maxwell, Andre Royo, Andrew Lauren, Laz Alonso, Lalanya Masters.
Directed by Christopher Scott Cherot.
BASIC PREMISE: After Summer G (Jones) gets rejected by Sky (Maxwell), he builds a hip-hop empire to win her back.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: As a modern spin on The Great Gatsby, G manages to be consistently entertaining despite lacking any surprises. Royo, a journalist, visits Summer G's big house in the Hamptons to interview him during a party. When he learns that Sky, his ex-girlfriend, is also at the party with Chip, her husband, G pressures Royo to set up a meeting between him and Sky. Predictably, Chip doesn't like all the attention that his wife gives to G. In a hilarious and awkward scene, Chip and his friend barge into a room, hoping to catch G and Sky all over each other physically, only to find out that they are simply in a business meeting. Most of these scenes feel like a soap opera, but there's enough humor and convincing performances by appealing actors and actresses to make it thoroughly engaging. The picturesque setting in the sunny Hamptons provides for plenty of soothing sights for your eyes. The lack of excessive sex and violence is like a breath of fresh air. What's ultimately missing is an energetic hip-hop soundtrack to enliven the dramatic scenes. We're supposed to believe that G is a successful hip-hop artist, so it would have been nice to actually hear his music at least once. The briefly inevitable, violent ending seems too contrived to be powerful or believable. If you're familiar with The Great Gatsby book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, you will find it amusing to find the subtle and obvious similarities and differences between the two.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Royo repeatedly asks, "Does hip-hop have a heart?". The two answers he gets are 1) Yes, it's always comes from deep inside the ghetto and 2) No, anyone involved in the hip-hop industry is heartless. Both are valid and intriguing answers, but they are all-too brief and unexplored to be though-provoking or profound.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A few contrived scenes and no hip-hop music.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
THE BOTTOM LINE: A thoroughly entertaining, lively and refreshing modern spin on The Great Gatsby that suffers slightly from a few contrived scenes and devoid of a hip soundtrack.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "G" Menu