Release Date: August 25th, 2006 by Universal Pictures.
The Cast: André Benjamin, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, Paula Patton, Terrence Howard, Faizon Love, Malinda Williams, Cicely Tyson, Macy Gray, Ben Vereen, Bruce Bruce, Patti LaBelle, Ving Rhames.
Directed by Bryan Barber.
BASIC PREMISE: In the 1930’s, Rooster (Big Boi), a club manager, must deal with the threat of gangsters while his piano player and business partner, Percival (Benjamin) falls in love with Angel (Patton).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Idlewild has great production value, but suffers from a weak, stilted script that fails to hold the plot together in a coherent, engaging manner. The messy plot goes back and forth between Rooster’s conflict with local gangsters—led by Trumpy (Howard)— and Percival’s flirtations with Angel, a beautiful singer. Neither story holds much interest because there’s no reason for you to care about any of the characters. Even the performances are just mediocre, except for Ving Rames who adds some charisma in his brief scenes as a gangster. The dance/musical numbers do have energy and some of them look well choreographed, but none of them are particularly memorable or surprising. Many of the dramatic scenes tend to drag. On a positive note, director Bryan Barber includes some imaginative animation and other visuals to add some style. He gives the film an almost dream-like glow which reflects just how, unfortunately, many of the scenes seem unrealistic. Idlewild overstays its welcome at a running time of two hours.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A stilted script and a messy plot.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8
IN A NUTSHELL: Lively dance/musical numbers, but a dull and stilted plot that often drags.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "I" Menu