A bouncy group variation on the “lone rocker” vehicle, this GQ vanity piece (the rapper wrote, directed and stars) puts a happy face on the moody “Purple Rain”/”Eight Mile” personal backstory genre. Low on tension but high on pearly whites, hero grins with his incredibly supportive friends and family. Believable if not especially exciting as long as GQ hangs out with his buds, pic turns naively simplistic when story tries to introduce older characters. Showtime hopes to secure theatrical release prior to broadcast, but prospects look iffy.
Everybody loves Stix (GQ), from his comatose grandma, whom he revives with jolts of gangsta rap, to his dad who makes up rap poetry while delivering milk. “Purple Rain”-type flashbacked family trauma has parents circling each other like characters in a Strinberg play, but years-old conflict is resolved overnight. More threatening to Stix’s integrity is proposed gig at a transvestite’s birthday party, requiring Stix to jump out of a cake in a satin bunny suit and deliver swishy rap. But Stix refuses to sell out, and at the last minute appears on stage dressed in his normal clothes and delivering his own rap.