Under The Cherry Moon, The Bodyguard, Swept Away, Glitter… the popstar-to-actor route isn't exactly littered with a long list of great movies. So, even though I've enjoyed Outkast's output over the last few years, I wasn't exactly looking forward to their movie debut.
But they've pulled it off. Idlewild's not without its faults, but in making an old-fashioned musical they've created an enjoyable vehicle that plays to their strengths.
Set in the Prohibition-era South, Big Boi (aka Antwan A. Patton now he's an actor) is a roguish bootleg booze-running club owner/rapper (yup, lots of anachronistic flourishes here) who's a ladeez man/nice guy really. Andre 3000 (aka Andre Benjamin now he's an actor) is a mortician by day/piano player in Big Boi's club at night. A foxy singer shows up, there's a nasty gangster moving in on the action, Big Boi gets trouble from his wife, Dre's getting it from his uptight dad etc…nothing too original in the plot but it works.
Shot by Bryan Barber, who did the videos for The Whole World, Hey Ya! and The Way You Move, it's packed with little animated touches, bursts into choreographed musical numbers every now and then (which is fine, as they are both playing musicians who are singing songs - it's not one of those musicals where they burst into song when they want someone to pass the toast), and lets the Outkast charisma come through.
The music's up to scratch too - basically the Outkast template reworked in an early jazz style - but still using drum machines, rapping, hip hop breaks etc.