In the Mix

Pop singer Usher has been around for quite some time and has amassed a legion of fans, mostly female, in the process. It was inevitable that he make a foray into film, but strange that he picked such a bad movie as his first starring vehicle (he had smaller roles in other films like Texas Rangers and Light It Up). For one thing, the women who would enjoy this film the most are probably 5 to 10 years younger than Usher's primary audience at the moment. In the Mix is a stupid mafia/romantic comedy, topped by an uninspiring performance by somebody who is otherwise charismatic on stage (hint, his name rhymes with "musher").

Usher plays Darrell, a hit dj who aspires to start his own record label. Circumstances bring him back in contact with Dolly (Emmanuelle Chriqui, Waiting..., Wrong Turn), a childhood friend. Well, Dolly is fresh out of law school. And hot. And the daughter of Frank (Chazz Palminteri, Noel, Poolhall Junkies), who happens to be the local mafia boss. This alone is probably enough to cause most people to run in abject horror from theaters. If not, then they should realize that Chriqui also starred in On the Line with another singer trying to make his foray into acting (hint, his name rhymes with "Rance Crass") and everybody knows how that movie ended up. Well, probably not, since nobody saw it.

Back to the "plot," by Jacqueline Zambrano, Chanel Capra (Nora's Hair Salon), Cara Dellaverson, and Brian Rubenstein. Almost all of these people have some experience in television, but obviously used none of it here. Frank asks Darrell to deejay at Dolly's party. Dolly and Darrell obviously like each other. When somebody tries to shoot Frank, Darrell pushes him out of the way and takes a bullet. Frank is impressed, and allows Darrell to stay in his house while he recuperates from the gunshot wound. Frank thinks that there is something going on the mob world, and would prefer if Dolly had protection every time she went out. She stifles at this lack of freedom, and manages to connive her father into allowing Darrell to be her bodyguard. The rest of the film consists of them playing cat and mouse with each other while the audience gets to watch Usher do things like change into cute clothes, go to a spa, eat good food, and walk around without his shirt on.

Looming in the background is a silly mob war, and director Ron Underwood (Stealing Sinatra, The Adventures of Pluto Nash) soon has it come to the forefront, for an entirely implausible, laughable finale. Usher seems like a nice enough guy. But he doesn't invest any emotion into his performance, and the lines that the script has him say can be painful at times. Heck, it even has a scene where he stands in front of a mirror and tries on clothes, a staple of movies for little girls. Most of the characters are thin caricatures of either Italian mobsters or a pastiche of African American stereotypes. Oh, and one snooty clueless rich white guy. Underwood does manage one thing - In the Mix manages only to be annoying. It is not so bad that it becomes obnoxious.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 35 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, and language.

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