Rated 3.0

Well, if a hip-hop musical written, directed, shot, cut and digitally effected like an MTV video is what you’re after, writer-director Bryan Barber is your man. Barber knows from the OutKast videos he’s already made that the duo—André “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton—deserves a big-screen star vehicle. How unfortunate that their showmanship seems too idiosyncratic to be contained by one. Set with care in a Prohibition-era Georgia backwater, Idlewild itemizes the rowdy adult adventures of two childhood friends: a lonely mortician who moonlights as a speakeasy piano player (Benjamin) and the club’s star performer (Patton), who unwittingly becomes its manager on account of gangster interference. There’s a lot to be said for costumes, set pieces, production numbers and collective ebullience, but the movie never tops the inventive vitality of its opening credits. It’s a gleefully anachronistic enterprise, by turns jaunty, decadent, weird, wrong, overlong and undeniably fun. It may disappear soon and resurface as a cult favorite in 10 years’ time.