Dollars

Elvis may be dead, but his amphetamine-fueled, taste-impaired, bad-movie-making spirit lives on in a new generation of rappers-turned-actors who are determined to make easy money churning out cheap, inept films for the direct-to-video market. Master P and his No Limit associates are, of course, the main figures behind today's rap-movie glut, but even such relative unknowns as Big Ballers CEO Cash have been known to reap huge financial rewards via their cinematic endeavors. Of course, when you think of telegenic rappers ripe for the big screen (or the small screen, for that matter), the name "MC Breed" isn't likely the first one to spring to mind. But that didn't stop the irrepressible Breed, known primarily for his 1991 fluke hit "Ain't No Future In Yo' Frontin'," from hopping on the bandwagon and making Dollars, a fairly typical 'hood movie distinguished only by Breed's odd, strangely unappealing presence. Chubby, bearded, and caterpillar-like, Breed is not convincing as a leading man, let alone a romantic hero. Of course, few rappers are eager to present themselves in films as loving, monogamous fellows, but Breed—in what is perhaps a clever attempt to create an audience for a series of MC Breed romance novels—presents himself here as a smooth lover-man who is more than willing to cater to a woman's every desire. But then, Dollars' romantic subplot, in which Breed woos the unhappy wife of a club owner, could just be an elaborate attempt to give him an opportunity to emote hilariously a la Master P in MP Da Last Don. If nothing else, it's notable for showing off a softer side that Breed has thus far hidden from his adoring public. Dollars borrows heavily from the already-derivative No Limit oeuvre for its hoary fall-and-rise-of-a-thug plotline, but it also throws in a shocking subplot in which Breed becomes both a crime kingpin and a popular rap star, the better to string together a series of music videos and live performances and try to pass them off as integral to the plot. In a way, though, this sort of movie is fairly critic-proof. It is, after all, pretty much intended solely for MC Breed fans, and accordingly, it would be difficult to imagine anyone who follows his career not enjoying this silly but strangely hypnotic little endeavor.

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