Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow is a sentimental farce about a southern pimp with musical aspirations that prove infectious for others in and about his life. It isn’t any more realistic than it needs to be (slick, handsome Terrence Howard’s eyes are clearer and better rested than any hard-living pimp’s could possibly be); but Brewer has fashioned a compulsively watchable pure entertainment—and one that’s beautifully acted, not just by Howard, who is phenomenal, but by the entire diverse supporting cast. The rap song that is the film’s centerpiece is hypnotic. The film’s turn into horrific violence is something that the film takes easily in its stride. Hustle & Flow certainly isn’t essential viewing, but for the superficial thing that it is it’s close to irresistible. It isn’t art, but it is artfully done.