Director Craig Brewer
Starring Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, DJ Qualls,
Film **** Extras ***
There's something cuddly about Terrence Howard's small-time Memphis pimp DJay in Hustle & Flow. Even when he's forcing his 'hos to prostitute themselves for a pricey microphone or chucking them out on the streets, you just want to give him a big hug and cheer him on in his quest to become a rap artist. That's both the strength of Howard's deeply sympathetic and vulnerable Oscar-nommed turn and the flaw in writer-director Craig Brewer's otherwise impressive film, which diminishes its mean-streets vibe by painting a sanitised gloss over the sleazier side of pimping.
That said, characters are well-drawn, Brewer has an earthy ear for dialogue and the music is compelling and addictive, most of it drawn from Southern hip-hop (as revealed in one of the disc's solid featurettes) - and the grinning presence of John Singleton all over the extras is a sure sign he's made his money back, after mortgaging his own house to get Hustle flowing.