50 Cent in Freelancers
50 Cent in Freelancers

IMAGINE a police force whose members pocket any cash or drugs they come across in the course of their duties, claim freebies from prostitutes, use drugs and murder colleagues they suspect are wavering in their devotion to corruption. No, this is not a local documentary; it is Freelancers, which features some of New York’s finest, particularly those who disgrace the badge others are proud to wear and even go so far as to break with tradition by not eating donuts.

Malo (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson), a new recruit, has already witnessed extreme measures taken against suspected traitors and, together with a couple of pals, decides to repay society by becoming a cop. Malo is welcomed by Capt Joe Sarcone (Robert De Niro), a hardened veteran who worked with Malo’s father and whose partner in crime is detective LaRue (Forest Whitaker).

Sarcone talks Malo into joining the gang so he, too, can enjoy the fruits of law-defying, lucrative acts that seem to escape the notice of their superiors, possibly because, as Sarcone boasts, the rot goes all the way to the mayor’s office.

Quickly seduced by the money his co-operation brings in, Malo has a good, conscience-free time enjoying the perks that come with the job; but, at the back of his mind, he plots his mentor’s downfall, a move that would probably meet with the approval of a prosecutor’s widow (Dana Delany), who wants him to honour the memory of his father whose change of heart cost him dearly.

There is not much that is original in the screenplay (by L Philippe Casseus) or Jessy Terrero’s direction, so expect the usual, unremarkable action as bent coppers preserve and protect their own interests. And it is depressing to see De Niro and Whitaker in such stereotypical, unchallenging roles.

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THERE was a time when writer-director John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) cornered the market as far as teenagers, their anxieties and crises were concerned, his success coming without resorting to anything offensive, unseemly or likely to attract parental disapproval.

Three decades later, it is deemed necessary to include language and subject matter that is more attuned to today’s adolescents and their frankness.

This generalisation arose while viewing Fun Size, a movie in the Hughes tradition if not quite in his style or up to his high standard.

The central character is Wren (Victoria Justice), the daughter of the recently widowed Joy (Chelsea Handler), who has found comfort in the attentions paid her by a man several years her junior.

Best friends Wren and April (Jane Levy) are totally looking forward to an awesome Halloween party organised by Aaron (Thomas McDonnell), the coolest guy in their school, but Joy, putting her own enjoyment first, leaves Albert (Jackson Nicoll), her eight-year-old son, in Wren’s reluctant and resentful care. The boy is strange, spirited, naughty and virtually silent and presents an insurmountable barrier between his sister and her plans for a good time.

Wren proves to be a careless guardian as her brother, dressed in a tattered Spider-Man costume, is not content with trick-or-treating for sweets and, being of independent mind, he manages to elude Wren, at which stage panic replaces unwanted responsibility as she searches frantically and he befriends some rather odd characters.

Johnny Knoxville is Jorgen, a low-life who finds satisfaction in literally taking candy from kids and, more sympathetically, Thomas Middleditch plays Fuzzy, a clerk in an all-night shop, who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Albert when they embark on a series of adventures together.

There are a few funny sequences and much talk, but no action, from April on the topic of sex, a minor obsession of hers, and of mild interest is the fact that Roosevelt (Thomas Mann), Wren’s admiring neighbour, has two loving mothers.

Fans of white rap will learn that Wren’s father had been a recording engineer for the Beastie Boys and that his most prized possession had been a Def Jam jacket that she treasures.

Aimed primarily at teenage girls, Fun Size provides some harmless, fairly amusing fun in a week shamefully devoid of both quality and quantity as exhibitors brace themselves for the arrival of the new Bond movie, Skyfall, next week.