I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOO disappointed in this film. So very disappointed. I begged everyone I came into contact with last weekend to go and see it with me and finally got the opportunity Sunday afternoon. I knew within the first 20 minutes of the movie that I'd be bored with the rest of it, but I thought I'd give it a chance. I thought the cinematography was bad, the script was bad, the casting was terrible and the feel was even worse.
I hate to do it, but I think it's the fault of Biggie's mother Voletta Wallace, who served as executive producer on the film. Thus giving her creative control. As a mother I believe she was disillusioned to who her son truly was. Not in a bad way, but I don't think she ever stopped thinking of him as her "Chrissy Pooh." The film and the way the story was told was affected as a result. It was almost like watching a PG-Rated R movie (if that makes any sense). In one sense, BIG came off as this very charismatic, fun-loving, upbeat, optimistic, jolly fat kid, who was naive and fell into drugs, teenage fatherhood and rap music. On the other side, the movie was kind of gratuitous. Lil' Kim's character was butt-ass naked the entire movie and just about every 10 minutes, you saw one of his groupies' titties. It was really strange how the film "flowed." It was almost like watching the Disney channel and Raven Simone and Orlando Brown just start fucking all of a sudden.
I'm disappointed because I don't think the film did his legacy any justice. Yes, Biggie was great person, but there's another side to him that was very hurt, jaded and ruthless - which is where the inspiration for a lot of his music came from. His story deserved to be told better. I told one of my friends that I felt like I was watching a Lifetime biography flick about his life and not a feature film.
What bothered me most though was the casting. Ugh! Here's a breakdown of the relevant characters:
B.I.G. - Jamal Woolard looked and sounded like Biggie, but he didn't capture his essence. The rapper can't act. His reactions were off. He was monotone. And he was not at all charming which was one of Biggie's most notable characteristics.
Puffy - Derek Luke is a great actor and he had his Diddy-isms down, I felt. But my biggest problem with him is his speech impediment. Luke can't do bio pics, because no matter how good he is he always sounds like Derek Luke and it's a huge distraction.
Lil' Kim - Wow! Reading the reports about how upset Kim was building up to the movie's release had me thinking she was pissed off at how she was portrayed for no reason. But after I saw it I understood exactly why she was so upset. They played the shit out of her. Within the first few minutes of meeting Biggie, she was butt-ass naked, fucking him at her house. The film made her look like his concubine. Although I will say that Naturi Naughton's portrayal of Lil' Kim was very convincing.
Lil' Cease - Marc John Jefferies is a great, young actor. I loved him just as much as you did in Losing Isiah. But he was too young and unseasoned for the role of Cease.
Voletta Wallace - Angela Bassett is phenomenal actress and I think she did a great job as Biggie's mom. My only problem was her accent (or lack thereof). That is Voletta's most prominent characteristic. It's the first thing you think about when she comes to mind. Angela tried, but her accent was too faint.
On a more positive note: The last 10 minutes of the movie really touched me and almost had me in tears. One of my favorite things about what I heard about his death is when they drove his body through the streets of Brooklyn after his funeral and how his fans celebrated his memory in the streets.
It was also beautiful to his son play a younger version of him in the beginning of the film.