PIMP is all about image and lacks the kind of complexity you want it to have to make it something easy to defend.
|Written By||Christine Crokos|
|Good If You Like||Urban Dramas|
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Summary (Ending on 2nd Page)
Since Wednesday was 10 she was learning the ways of the pimp. Her daddy was a pimp so, naturally, she became a pimp. It wasn’t like she was pushed to go to school or anything like that. However, with her dad dying when she was young, and her mom just one of his hoes who got to retire since she had his kid, life got hard quick. Luckily, Wednesday had Nikki, the girl across the street, to give the love and affection her mother, Mae, never gave her.
However, in her adult years, the struggle is real for Wednesday since she isn’t making the kind of money her dad did – probably because she doesn’t deal drugs. Thus leading her to double down on the pimping and while Nikki tries to help, the money she brings in isn’t enough. Leading to Wednesday trying to charm a girl name Destiny who seals Wednesday’s fate.
A Different Side To Keke Palmer
Being that Keke Palmer was a child star, naturally there is this need to question how her transition into more adult roles would be. We got a taste of that in Star, as Gigi, but PIMP is different. First and foremost, she is the lead and also this is a drama. The goofy personality we see on social media is stripped away and you are reminded why, back when Akeelah and the Bee came out, there was talk of Palmer being the next big thing.
Now, mind you, I’m not saying she gives a tour de force performance. While Palmer does put that work in, she doesn’t have a natural swag that makes you feel she got fully in tune with the character. If anything, it is more so her handling of the emotional aspect of the character, be it her relationship with Nikki or her mom, which deserves praise. Making it clear what we saw in Imperial Dreams was no fluke.
Haley Ramm Saves the Day
Similar to Light as a Feather, Ramm finds a way to push whoever she is working a scene with and bring the best out of them. With Palmer, she makes their relationship something you wish was the foundation for the movie. For as much as it is sad that Mae is but a junkie, her and Wednesday’s issues don’t get you in your feelings.
However, Nikki and Wednesday’s relationship, with Mae making it sound like Nikki is using Wednesday, it makes you invested in their relationship. Heck, it makes you more invested in Wednesday since Nikki is the best thing she has going. So as you teeter-totter between wondering if Nikki is down or will leave once the shoe drops, it enhances Palmer being desperate to give her a better life. For, maybe, if she fails to do so, she realizes some guy may swoop Nikki away.
It Took Note Of What Good Urban Drama Have, But Didn’t Get Past The Look
One of the weird things about this film is, you can tell there is this desire to present this dramatic and hard life. That this film took note of the many productions which came before it and wanted to incorporate the elements that made films like Moonlight, and many a 90s urban crime drama classics. Problem is, this seems like the bargain version of that. You know, like how like how Chocolate City is a bootleg version of Magic Mike. That is the vibe PIMP gives you.
DMX, while in the classic Belly, is barely in the film and that is a travesty right there. Aunjanue Ellis seemingly is trying to give Naomie Harris’ performance in Moonlight a run for its money, but it just isn’t developed to the point it wows you. Then for Palmer? While there are no quick comparison that can be made, if it wasn’t for who she is and knowing her history, I would say there isn’t anything truly remarkable about her performance.
Yes, there is some sense of emotion there, but I think the surprise it is Keke Palmer playing this role trumps what she gives as just an actress. And while Ramm is a consistently valuable supporting actor, there is only but so much she can do. For between how Wednesday is written and performed, Ramm may help push Palmer further but not to the point you think she should lead another film like this. At least until she gets more experience under her belt.
Overall: Mixed (Divisive) | Purchase Or Rent On (Amazon)
Let’s file this under a growth movie. The kind which the actors are learning on the job and that is why, as much as there is potential, you recognize their charisma is the sole reason you don’t stop watching half way. For the way this movie is written makes it so it is heavily reliant on its famous faces to attract an audience and keep said audience. Yet, there is only so much that can be done when a script doesn’t provide you a compelling journey to go on.
Leading to why the mixed label, this is the kind of film you know is about learning on the job. It isn’t a film which deserves high expectations and giving it such means you wanted to be disappointed. This movie is the kind which provides actors like Keke Palmer, known mostly for comedy, and a few bit dramatic parts, the ability to work on their craft, get feedback, and learn. Same goes for the writer/ director. So, if you choose to watch this, acknowledge the potential more than see this as the be all to end all. Otherwise, you’ll feel like this was a waste of your time.
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