Idlewild: Pimps and Morticians and Playas, oh my!

The motion picture, “Idlewild,” follows the lives of Percival (OutKast’s Andre ‘3000’ Benjamin), a shy mortician by day and piano player by night, and Rooster (OutKast’s Antwan Patton), a smooth talking “Bow Tie Pimp” that lives for women and booze. These two friends share their love of music in a lively speakeasy called ‘Church’ which is, “anything but!” according to Percival.

In its opening sequence, “Idlewild” shows Percival and Rooster from their childhood days, with Percival learning about the mortuary business from his alcoholic father, while Rooster spends his days with gangsters and pimps, running ‘hooch’ and chasing ladies. Soon enough Rooster is working for ‘Church’ as its main entertainer and gets Percival a job playing the piano at night.

After some unfortunate events, including a gun fight and a betrayal, Sunshine Ace, the larger than life (literally) owner of Church, is killed. Suddenly Rooster is forced into ownership of Church, inheriting all its debts, which the gangster and thief Trumpy (Terrence Howard) constantly reminds him, are due any day now.

Percival, on the other hand, has his own problems. Starting with the appearance of the mysterious Angel Davenport, a sexy and soulful singer that is contracted to play at Church. Percival and Angel begin their love affair, full of music, song and some steamy love scenes, much to Percival’s father’s dismay. “She’ll leave you,” he says, “just like your mother left me.”

Rooster and Percival must make decisions about their lives, their family and their loves. How will Rooster ever bring Church out of debt and get Trumpy off his back? Will Percival find it in himself to follow his dreams and his lady to the big time, or will he fall prey to his father, living the dull life of a mortician, mournfully tapping away at his piano and letting his talent pass him by?

Directed by Bryan Barber, “Idlewild” is full of fun and flashy show tunes, dance sequences and fight scenes.

While it does have its shortcomings, mainly the predictability, the sometimes one-dimensional characters and half-baked plots (which could have been taken much farther than they were), “Idlewild” will keep you on your toes with its powerful love scenes, its swinging dances and saucy tunes.

This movie truly has something for everybody, and even if you’re not a fan of OutKast, I recommend going to see this movie. “Idlewild” is now playing at Muvico in Ybor, as well as AMC theaters at the Westshore Mall.

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