Get Rich or Die Tryin

Rated 2.0

A New York drug dealer (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) dreams of being a rap artist and then opts for the easier money of pushing—until fatherhood and a prison stint force him to rethink his priorities. Director Jim Sheridan gives the material (and the inexperienced Jackson) the benefit of his considerable filmmaking gifts; he has a sharp eye for the grit and harshness of street crime, and he packs the supporting cast with fine actors (especially Terrence Howard as Jackson’s cellblock protector and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Bill Duke as local drug lords). He also makes Jackson’s expressionless awkwardness work as a kind of vulnerability. But Terence Winter’s script is rambling and anticlimatic, and the story never comes into clear focus. Jackson’s fans will be disappointed at how little real rapping he does.