Hippo Manchester
December 1, 2005


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Film: In the Mix (PG-13)

by Amy Diaz

Usher looks really hot in a suit and proves it over and over again in In the Mix, a movie about the different ways in which Usher can look hot in a suit.

And, honestly, that isnít the worst premise for a movie. Iíve certainly seen movies built on stupider foundations. For one, Usher does look hot in a suit. Charismatic? Charming? Not especially. But heís handsome in that vacant GQ-model way and thatís good enough to kill at least the first 30 seconds of any given scene.

And killing time in scenes is important for In the Mix because the plot certainly isnít doing the job. The actors donít so much perform as they hang out in a scene, like theyíre waiting for someone to bring pizza or character development.

Darrell (Usher) is hot even before he gets his suits. A DJ, he sports his club wear like heís posing for Cargo. He even wears his version of street dressy to the welcome-home party for Dolly (Emmanuelle Criqui), daughter of mafia-type Frank Pacelli (Chazz Palminteri). No whiny Meadow Soprano, Dolly is an independent law student who bristles at talk of marriage to her too-perfect boyfriend and doesnít like her fatherís overprotectiveness. She and Darrell are friends from childhood, when Darrellís father worked as a bartender in Frankís restaurant. Still close to the Pacelli family, Darrell doesnít think twice about diving in front of Dolly and Frank to take a bullet when someone (possibly a competing ďfamilyĒ) shoots at the party. Darrell recuperates in Frankís house and, when Frank insists that Dolly be accompanied by a bodyguard, she picks Darrell.

Enter the suits.

His bodyguard duty gives Darrell opportunities to wear a variety of suits, from pinstripe to casual to trendy. He all but does a little model turn in each new outfit. Ultimately, his parade of business wear is the most entertaining and unpredictable part of story, which develops down an obvious and well-trod road of ďforbiddenĒ romance.

Except the coupling of Darrell and Dolly, assured from the beginning, isnít really that forbidden; after all, Palminteri is her dad and therefore sort of a good guy. There isnít really a hurdle to their relationship thatís bigger than a speed bump or any twists that you canít see coming for miles.

Except, of course, the pinstripes, which are a surprising update on a formerly stuffy trend.