“8 Mile” is full of every music movie clichÃ© one can think of: the poor rapper with the big dreams of fame; the missing father; the cute little sibling; the pretty girl; the interracial crew and the crosstown rivals and the copout ending.
Imagine “Saturday Night Fever” meets “Purple Rain” meets “A Star Is Born” meets “Juice.” Throw in the motto of Mary Tyler Moore for fun (“We’re gonna make it after allllll!”) and you have the “Fame” for middle-class white teenagers with a desperate need to consume something “urban.” Yes, it’s every bit as bad as it sounds.
Jimmy Smith Jr., or Rabbit, portrayed by Eminem has broken up with his girlfriend and has no place to stay. He moves in with his mother (played by a downtrodden Kim Basinger) and her boyfriend, Gary.
Rabbit loves hip hop, though it’s never explained how or why he got into the hobby.
Every five minutes or so, someone breaks out into a rhyme – it’s reminiscent of a bad musical.
Em spends a lot of time freestyling against people that are obviously far worse than him. His best friends are a group of young men that have no purpose in this movie except to kiss Rabbit’s behind constantly.
The audience is told that Rabbit is a lyrical genius, but this isn’t shown until about 10 minutes before the movie ends. Too little, too late.
There’s a small scene where workers at a steel plant rap over the meals on a food truck. Perhaps the highlight (or the lowlight, pick one) of this scene is a long, drawn-out incident in which Eminem defends a gay man by repeatedly calling a straight man a faggot. It rings of Chris Rock explaining the difference between niggers and black people.
But Chris is black. Eminem is not gay, and the scene shows as what it truly is: an excuse for Em to show what a great rapper he is (the words “great” and “rapper” being subjective).
This also gives Eminem a reason to fall upon his homophobic crutch, seeing that his misogyny crutch was kicked from under him the moment he signed up to do a Hollywood film.
It’s okay to make fun of gay people, but to verbally attack women is just plain wrong.
One must also point out the homoeroticism that oozes from this movie. Nothing wrong with a little male-male love, but it’s hard to swallow (no pun intended) from a gay-basher like Eminem.
One minute he’s calling a fellow rapper a faggot; the next, he’s cradling his head in the crook of Future’s (Mekhi Phifer) neck. Phifer and Eminem hold hands and hug more often than any sane couple.
Future also calls Rabbit “Bunny Rabbit” with the gentle croon that a mother saves for her son.
It’s hard to believe the word “boring” would be used with Eminem, but boring is exactly what “8 Mile” is.
And to describe “8 Mile” as predictable is a terrible understatement.
When Rabbit is facing a champion street rapper toward the end, there is an unusually long pause as the two rappers stare each other down in order to create tension and suspense. In reality, it’s a waste of time. Will Rabbit win? Is water wet?
Though Eminem fans will undoubtedly love this film, regular movie viewers will have more fun going to see “Jackass” than trekking down these eight miles of bad road.