With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.

It's hard out here for a pimp.

Screen writer and director Craig Brewer has teamed up with Academy Award nominated actor Terence Howard to tell it how it is in Hustle and Flow.

DJay (Terrence Howard) is a small time pimp and drug dealer from steamy Memphis barely getting by. While he sits in his car waiting for Nola (Taryn Manning) to turn her tricks, he writes rap lyrics, pouring his frustrations into his notebook. When he runs into old high school buddy and soundman Key (Anthony Anderson) and his friend DJ Qualls, they decided to set up a makeshift recording studio in DJay's rundown house. It's now a race against time to finish their demo to give successful rapper Skinny Black (Ludacris) when he comes home for a visit.

Finally, an authentic example of a blaxploitation pic. Hustle and Flow has more in common with that 70's genre than its recent cousins 8 Mile and Get Rich or Die Trying. Director Craig Brewer marvelously manages to balance gritty realism against creative aspirations as we dive head first into a seedy side of Memphis rarely seen on the screen. But it's Terence Howard's performance that makes this film, showing us that this drug dealing pimp has hopes and dreams like the rest of us. Coupled with a great supporting cast and an awesome soundtrack, Hustle and Flow sure knows how to keep it real.

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1 hour 56 min
In Cinemas 22 July 2005,