‘Hey Ya!’ hip-hop heroes Outkast have never conformed to type, their dirty beats several klicks south of the East and West Coast rap scenes. No surprise, then, that their movie debut strikes its own path too. Ditching the usual rap movie gangster’s paradise, this is a luscious ragtime musical set in a Prohibition-era speakeasy in the Deep South. Honky-tonk musical numbers and moonshine-swilling violence give the story of mortician turned piano player Percival (André 3000) and his chancer buddy Rooster (Antwan ‘Big Boi’ Patton) a smart backdrop: The Color Purple filtered through Chicago. But while surprisingly polished performances from the two leads grab the attention, the plot flows slower than molasses in January. Ragtime musical interludes pump up the volume – yet when the music’s over, this ain’t quite got the funk.
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