In The Mix
A hip-hop DJ (Usher) accepts a gig as a bodyguard to the daughter (Emmanuelle Chriqui) of a mob boss (Chazz Palminteri) whose family he has known since childhood. Jacqueline Zambrano’s script (story by Chanel Capra, Cara Dellaverson and Brian Rubenstein) is slapdash and halfhearted, wobbling under the weight of countless lame jokes—did it really take four people to come up with this? And director Ron Underwood muddies the action with awkward staging and gracelessly artsy camera angles; the presence of a mirror on the set seems to throw him into helpless confusion. But the oafish setting fails to sabotage, or even much hamper, Usher’s genuine charm and likeability. He has real star presence, and his chemistry with Chriqui is sweet and engaging. The supporting cast of familiar wise-guy faces helps, too. J.L.