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"NOTORIOUS"
(2009) (Jamal Woolard, Derek Luke) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Moderate Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Mild Extreme Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Extreme Heavy Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A young man rises from Brooklyn street drug dealer to increasingly famous rapper, but must contend with the various pitfalls that arise from that as well as his own behavior.
PLOT:
It's the 1990s and Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls (JAMAL WOOLARD), deals dope on the streets of his Brooklyn neighborhood despite his single mother, Voletta (ANGELA BASSETT), having done her best to bring him up the right way. Yet, his introduction to dealing by street dealer Damion "D-Roc" Butler (DANNIES L.A. WHITE) eventually results in him serving time in prison, meaning he misses the birth of his child with girlfriend Jan (JULIA PACE MITCHELL).

Behind bars, he hones his skills at writing rap songs, and when his time is up and he learns his stage name is already taken, he emerges as The Notorious B.I.G., impressing up and coming record producer Sean "Diddy" Combs (DEREK LUKE) to sign him to his record label. With the help of his friends/producers Mark Pitts (KEVIN PHILLIPS) and Wayne Barrow (CHARLES MALIK WHITFIELD), he hits the big time, thus drawing the interest first of budding rapper Lil Kim (NATURI NAUGHTON) and later, singer Faith Evans (ANTONIQUE SMITH) who he then marries.

He also meets and becomes friends with fellow rapper Tupac Shakur (ANTHONY MACKIE), but the progressively escalating East Coast-West Coast hip-hop feud stirred up by the likes of record label mogul Suge Knight (SEAN RINGGOLD) eventually drives a wedge between them. From that point on, and as finds he's unable to be faithful to any of the women in his life, his growing success fuels both his notoriety and the tension with his rivals from the other coast.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of hip-hop/rap music, those artists portrayed in the film, and/or anyone in the cast, it's a good bet they will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For pervasive language, some strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, and for drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JAMAL WOOLARD plays a young man from Brooklyn who goes from dealing drugs to becoming a big rap artist. He easily gets caught up in the money both offer, uses strong profanity, sleeps with various women (including cheating on significant others), drinks and smokes (pot, cigars and cigarettes).
  • ANGELA BASSETT plays his mother who raises him by herself and is shocked to learn that he's dealing drugs (upon which she kicks him out of the house). She must not only contend with that, but also developing breast cancer.
  • DEREK LUKE plays an ambitious record producer and businessman who sees potential in Biggie but tries to keep him on the straight and narrow. He uses some profanity and drinks some.
  • ANTHONY MACKIE plays another rapper who initially befriends Biggie and tries to warn him of the dangers of the business. He eventually becomes his heated rival and uses strong profanity.
  • NATURI NAUGHTON plays one of Biggie's lovers who he helps turn into a rapper, and she uses his spurning of her in her material that also includes strong profanity and sexually related material.
  • ANTONIQUE SMITH plays another artist who Biggie ends up marrying. She puts up with his bad behavior until she finally reaches a breaking point.
  • KEVIN PHILLIPS and CHARLES MALIK WHITFIELD play Biggie's friends and managers who handle his affairs.
  • DANNIES L.A. WHITE plays Biggie's friend who introduces him to dealing drugs on the streets and ends up purposefully taking the rap for him for a gun possession charge. He uses strong profanity.
  • JULIA PACE MITCHELL plays Biggie's early girlfriend who ends up giving birth to their child. She uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 154 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually explicit dialogue and song lyrics are present as are sexual gestures and moves, while several sexual encounters (oral sex, intercourse with movement, nudity and sounds) are seen, as is nonsexual nudity (breasts, butts).

    Violence includes several people being shot, and some fighting and striking of others also occurs. One of the shooting scenes has bloody results, and that and other scenes might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Characters drink and/or smoke in various scenes, and some drug use (pot) occurs, as does drug dealing. Bad attitudes are present, as is behavior that some kids might want to imitate, while tense family material occurs.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there are full strobe effects in several concerts, as well as camera flashes in other scenes.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of handheld camera movement in the film.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see some drinking.
  • D-Roc introduces Biggie to the world of selling drugs on the streets, and we see scenes of him doing that as a kid and later as a teen (and hiding some drugs from his mom under his bed).
  • We see more drug dealing on the streets.
  • We see miscellaneous young men drinking beer on the street.
  • There's a reference to smoking crack pipes in some rap lyrics.
  • We see more drug dealing, including Biggie knowingly selling that to a young pregnant woman.
  • Some in Biggie's entourage drink, including what looks like malt liquor.
  • Biggie deals on the street again, but this time the cops catch him in the act, chase after him on foot, and aim handguns at him while arresting him.
  • A rap song has a lyric about "All I want to do is screw" and "drink brew."
  • Biggie and others have champagne.
  • A rap song has a lyric about crack pipes.
  • About performing in a recording studio, Biggie states he needs more Pepsi, weed and women. We then see him smoking what looks like a joint, while a woman with him holds a drink and one of his entourage members appears to smoke a joint.
  • Miscellaneous people drink at a club where Biggie holds some champagne and later drinks straight from the bottle.
  • A rap song has a lyric about smoking pot and drinking Jack (presumably meaning whiskey).
  • We see miscellaneous drinking.
  • Biggie has a drink and what looks like a bong in front of him.
  • A guy points out a mother on the street and that she used to be a crack-head.
  • Various people have champagne.
  • Biggie, Sean and others have champagne at a party.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After a shooting, we see that Tupac has been hit several times, including in the head, and is bloody, while his clothed crotch area is wet from urine and/or blood.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • A girl at young Biggie's school states that he's black, fat and ugly.
  • Voletta isn't happy to see Biggie's father show up, or to offer just $100 for the boy's care. Young Biggie hears them arguing, and just as abruptly as the boy meets his father for the first time, that man leaves. That later prompts young Biggie to write lyrics about not liking that man.
  • D-Roc introduces Biggie to the world of selling drugs on the streets, and we see scenes of him doing that as a kid and later as a teen (and hiding some drugs from his mom under his bed).
  • After Biggie correctly answers a math question, his teacher tells him, "You're smarter than you look" (referring to the teen routinely skipping school and obviously being involved in wrongdoing). In response, Biggie puts the teacher in his place by pointing out that garbage men (what the teacher previously told the teen he'd be) make more money than teachers, and then comments about "his dumb ass."
  • We see more drug dealing, including Biggie knowingly selling that to a young pregnant woman.
  • Biggie cheats on Jan by having sex with Lil Kim, and then cheats on the latter with Faith.
  • Those responsible for shooting Tupac and Biggie (separately) obviously have bad attitudes.
  • We hear lyrics from Tupac about "f*ck your bitch" and "f*cked your wife" referring to Faith as a taunt at Biggie. As a result, Biggie storms into an interview session Faith's having, grabs her, repeatedly asks if she "f*cked" Tupac, and then smashes a chair or something similar against a wall near her (thinking she cheated on him, but she states she didn't).
  • Faith whacks on Biggie while mad at him, packs up her stuff, and then leaves him (after he states, "I could have ten bitches a day if I wanted").
  • Biggie and his entourage receive several death threats over the phone.
  • Tupac confronts Biggie and taunts him about "that's why I f*cked your wife."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • We hear the sound of gunshots as two men head down toward the lobby in an elevator. When they get there, they see armed men, with one kicking a downed person, and one aims his gun at the younger of the two, making both retreat back into the elevator. They hurriedly report that to Biggie and others, and he does down in the elevator to find blood in the lobby and cops aiming their guns at him, thinking he's the shooter (since he's carrying his gun). Up top, we see that Tupac has been shot several times (including in the head) and is bloody.
  • Since we know that Biggie is going to be shot (from the beginning of the movie showing that), the moments leading up to that as seen at the end of the film might be suspenseful to some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Biggie places a handgun in the back of his pants before going off to school.
  • We see Biggie in possession of handguns during his drug dealing days.
  • Biggie deals on the street again, but this time the cops catch him in the act, chase after him on foot, and aim handguns at him while arresting him.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "(I) F*cked up," "F*cks up," "Oh f*ck," "F*ck it," "F*ck you (too bitch)," "Shut the f*ck up," "I know m*therf*ckers who know m*therf*ckers," "What the f*ck /you talking about/is the world coming to?" "All f*cking bullsh*t," "I'm f*cking with you," "F*ck y'all," "Get us the f*ck out of here," "I don't give a f*ck," "F*ck that bullsh*t," "You ain't sh*t," "(That's) Bullsh*t (and party)," "Nickel and dime sh*t," "Your sh*t got nice," "Oh sh*t," "I don't give a sh*t," "Gangsta sh*t," "This is full of sh*t," "Sh*t don't make any sense," "He's the man," "Nigger" (said many times, mostly, if not all of the time, by black people), "Oh, for crying out loud," "You're smarter than you look," "His dumb ass," "Smoke that ass," "Sweet bitch," "Bald ass niggers," "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" "Damn you," "Hell yeah," "You're looking damn good," "You got a smart-ass mouth," "What doesn't break a nigger makes a nigger," "Fine ass," "Grown ass," "Broke ass," "Damn sure," "Bitch(es)," "Chick" and "I could have ten bitches a day if I wanted."
  • Some kids may want to imitate the rappers and their rapping, including some sexually related gestures and such.
  • After a guy grabs his clothed crotch while riding by on a bicycle, young Biggie does the same while standing.
  • D-Roc introduces Biggie to the world of selling drugs on the streets, and we see scenes of him doing that as a kid and later as a teen (and hiding some drugs from his mom under his bed).
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti in various scenes.
  • We see a miscellaneous thug with gold teeth.
  • Various characters (male and female) have varying styles of tattoos, including Tupac and later Biggie and Mark.
  • A fan has Biggie sign the top of her breast in her low-cut top.
  • We see Lil Kim in some small and tight shorts as she squats down and spreads her legs for Biggie who's shirtless in a pool. He isn't impressed and tells her she should keep the suspenders she's wearing but loose the shirt beneath them, so she does, with the straps partially covering the center of her breasts, although a nipple is seen on one side.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in a few scenes in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • An extreme amount of profanity, sexually related lyrics (many of them explicit) and drug and drinking related material is heard in many lyrics (performed and on the soundtrack) throughout the film.
  • PROFANITY
  • Considering the rampant language as well as song lyrics playing under certain scenes, the following should be considered a bare minimum: At least 154 "f" words (39 used with "mother," 8 used sexually as is the term "screw"), 98 "s" words, 7 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck"), 5 using female ones ("p*ssy" and "tw*t"), 18 asses, 17 damns and 10 hells.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The camera focuses tight on various women's bodies as they dance in tight/formfitting attire.
  • After a guy grabs his clothed crotch while riding by on a bicycle, young Biggie does the same while standing.
  • Biggie jokes to Jan about the charges on his phone for all of the phone sex he's done with her (all while making a butt-slapping gesture). She then announces that she's pregnant by him, and he comments about her carrying his seed.
  • Jan shows a lot of cleavage.
  • A rap song has a line about one's "thick d*ck" and that he "f*cks" like another person.
  • We see Lil Kim having sex on top of Biggie (a full side view, with movement, her bare breasts, the side of her bare butt, and related sounds).
  • A rap song has a lyric about "All I want to do is screw" and "drink brew."
  • A rap song has a lyric about "hit your tw*t" and other such sexually related material.
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage and Biggie comments on the young women ready to jump out of their clothes for Tupac.
  • We see Lil Kim's bare butt as she gets dressed, as well as a fleeting glimpse of the side of her bare breast. We then see her in a dress shirt and panties, and she starts to do some "gangsta rap," but Biggie says listeners don't want to hear that, and instead want sexually related material. Accordingly, she then does some of that, including about holding his "d*ck," taking off her panties, him putting it in the hole, her performing oral sex on him and such.
  • About performing in a recording studio, Biggie states he needs more Pepsi, weed and women. We then see two women fawning over him, one bare-breasted, the other scantly clad. The two women briefly kiss and then kiss on him, with one unzipping his pants and performing oral sex on him (we see the movement of her head at his crotch area, but don't see the actual contact). Later, we see those two women (or others) fawning over a young entourage member, while Biggie does some sexually related rapping about what just occurred.
  • The camera focuses on women's bodies dancing in tight attire.
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • We see Lil Kim in some small and tight shorts as she squats down and spreads her legs for Biggie who's shirtless in a pool. He isn't impressed and tells her she should keep the suspenders she's wearing but loose the shirt beneath them, so she does, with the straps partially covering the center of her breasts, although a nipple is seen on one side.
  • Faith shows some cleavage, and there's a brief but sensual kiss between her and Biggie.
  • A fan has Biggie sign the top of her breast in her low-cut top.
  • Biggie and Faith do some passionate kissing right after getting married.
  • Jealous of Biggie now being with Faith, Lil Kim does various angry and sexually related rapping, including about "taking it in the butt" and "when you were eating my p*ssy the other night."
  • We see two shirtless male rappers during a concert.
  • Faith has a tattoo on the top of her breast and she shows a lot of cleavage.
  • Faith gets suspicious that Biggie is cheating on her (especially after he lies to her on the phone), so she goes to his hotel room and bangs the door open into the other woman's face. He's in bed shirtless and claims, "I wasn't even f*cking," but Faith angrily says he should have.
  • Biggie and Faith do some passionate kissing, including with some briefly seen groping.
  • Lil Kim does another bout of taunting, sexually related rap lyrics aimed at Biggie, including about "eat my p*ssy" and him wanting to lick between her legs, etc. During this, there's a close-up view of her panty covered (barely) crotch, as well as grabbing her crotch with her own hand.
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage during some photo shoots.
  • We hear lyrics from Tupac about "f*ck your bitch" and "f*cked your wife" referring to Faith as a taunt at Biggie. As a result, Biggie storms into an interview session Faith's having, grabs her, repeatedly asks if she "f*cked" Tupac, and then smashes a chair or something similar against a wall near her (thinking she cheated on him, but she states she didn't).
  • Tupac confronts Biggie and taunts him about "that's why I f*cked your wife."
  • When D-Roc gets out of prison and tells Biggie he got a lot of love in the joint after the inmates learned he was Biggie's friend, Biggie jokes, "How much love did you get?"
  • SMOKING
  • Biggie smokes many times (mostly cigars, but also some cigarettes), while various supporting, minor and miscellaneous characters smoke (cigarettes and cigars) in various scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Voletta isn't happy to see Biggie's father show up, or to offer just $100 for the boy's care. Young Biggie hears them arguing, and just as abruptly as the boy meets his father for the first time, that man leaves. That later prompts young Biggie to write lyrics about not liking that man.
  • Voletta is upset with Biggie skipping school, and then even more so upon learning that he's been dealing drugs. Accordingly, she kicks him out of home, and is then upset upon learning he's been arrested and is in jail.
  • Sean states that his father died hustling on the streets when Sean was just two.
  • We hear that Voletta has breast cancer, and Biggie initially doesn't take that well (but later cares for her). Upon hearing about that, Mark states that he was 15 when his mom died of cancer.
  • Faith gets suspicious that Biggie is cheating on her (especially after he lies to her on the phone), so she goes to his hotel room and bangs the door open into the other woman's face. She then repeatedly punches that woman in the face.
  • We hear lyrics from Tupac about "f*ck your bitch" and "f*cked your wife" referring to Faith as a taunt at Biggie. As a result, Biggie storms into an interview session Faith's having, grabs her, repeatedly asks if she "f*cked" Tupac, and then smashes a chair or something similar against a wall near her (thinking she cheated on him, but she states she didn't).
  • Faith whacks on Biggie while mad at him, packs up her stuff, and then leaves him (after he states, "I could have ten bitches a day if I wanted").
  • We see Biggie's funeral and his grieving wife and other family members and friends.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy and/or any artistic license taken with the true story.
  • Rap music, rap artists, and the rivalry that developed between the east coast and west coast rappers.
  • How kids are enticed by the allure of easy money and related "bling."
  • Sean's comment that "What doesn't break a nigger, makes a nigger."
  • D-Roc taking the gun possession rap for Biggie so that the latter can continue pursuing his rap dream.
  • We hear that Voletta has breast cancer, and Biggie initially doesn't take that well (but later cares for her). Upon hearing about that, Mark states that he was 15 when his mom died of cancer.
  • The comment that one can't change the world until they change themselves.
  • Biggie stating that more money simply means more problems.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A car pulls up alongside Biggie's SUV and the man inside opens fire. We hear the shot and see the flash, but the scene freezes there.
  • Voletta slaps Biggie for his criminal behavior.
  • There's a fight on the stage during a rap performance, but we then see that it's all been faked for effect on the audience.
  • Angry about Lil Kim taunting him with sexually related rap lyrics, Biggie pushes her back against a wall.
  • Faith gets suspicious that Biggie is cheating on her (especially after he lies to her on the phone), so she goes to his hotel room and bangs the door open into the other woman's face. She then repeatedly punches that woman in the face.
  • We hear the sound of gunshots as two men head down toward the lobby in an elevator. When they get there, they see armed men, with one kicking a downed person, and one aims his gun at the younger of the two, making both retreat back into the elevator. They hurriedly report that to Biggie and others, and he does down in the elevator to find blood in the lobby and cops aiming their guns at him, thinking he's the shooter (since he's carrying his gun). Up top, we see that Tupac has been shot several times (including in the head) and is bloody.
  • We hear lyrics from Tupac about "f*ck your bitch" and "f*cked your wife" referring to Faith as a taunt at Biggie. As a result, Biggie storms into an interview session Faith's having, grabs her, repeatedly asks if she "f*cked" Tupac, and then smashes a chair or something similar against a wall near her (thinking she cheated on him, but she states she didn't).
  • We hear news reports that Tupac was shot again and then died from those wounds (footage shows bullet holes in a vehicle).
  • There's a car crash (seen from the point of view of Biggie's vehicle) where he badly injures his leg.
  • We see a repeat of the opening scene where a car pulls up alongside Biggie's SUV and a man opens fire, hitting Biggie several times (no blood, just his slumped over body). We later see that Biggie died from this attack.



  • Reviewed January 5, 2009 / Posted January 16, 2009

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