If his performance in this semi-autobiographical flick is any indication, controversial rapper Eminem stands poised to become a bona-fide movie star. Queer politics aside, Eminem is sensational as Rabbit, a Detroit factory worker who dreams of being a hip-hop performer. Consumed by self-doubt, he watches local freestyle rap “battles” from the sidelines until he meets Alex (Brittany Murphy), a wannabe model with her own lofty aspirations, who encourages him to follow his heart. Despite the clichéd premise, when Rabbit finally takes the stage to strut his lyrical stuff, the results are electrifying. Whether that’s due to actual acting ability or merely his uncontainable screen magnetism remains to be seen. Either way, it ensures he’s never upstaged by his more seasoned co-stars, among them Kim Basinger as his good-for-nothing mom and Mekhi Phifer as his Dr. Dre-like mentor.
Kinsey Scale: 1 (In what may be an attempt to appease Eminem’s gay critics, Rabbit defends a gay co-worker during a lunchtime freestyle session. Brittany Murphy played a lesbian soldier in Common Ground, a TV compilation of gay-themed short films, and director Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys centered on a writer and his gay editor/publisher.)(Appeared in Q Syndicate)