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8 Mile

Release Date: 
11/08/2002
Rated: 
MPAA: R
Star Rating: 
6 out of 10
Eminem has been rapping about his fucked up life for…um…ever. Now he’s making a big-time Hollywood production of it with a big-name director (L.A. Confidential’s Curtis Hanson). Together they glorify Jimmy Smith Jr., a.k.a. Rabbit (Eminem), just enough before reeling in the schmaltz and making his triumphs tolerable. Eminem holds his own as an actor (fortunately, the role is based on his own life), and Brittany Murphy is deliciously slutty as the aspiring model–hanger-on. Mekhi Phifer plays Rabbit’s longtime partner in crime who keeps encouraging him to perform until he breaks big. The film explores the personal problems that have long populated Eminem’s songs: the sexually frustrated, trailer-trash mom (Kim Basinger), her on-again off-again boyfriend (who’s Rabbit’s age), and his little sister caught up in the middle of their fighting (a sub for his daughter in real life). Waiting to see who messes with who’s head next in the rap battle scenes makes for some good dirty fun, and Rabbit’s hardships are presented so that the underdog role isn’t hyped up to unbearable levels. Maybe this cracker is on to something with this whole “white leading man” thing.