Nick Cannon, please don’t take yourself so seriously.
Drumline isn’t actually half bad. And speaking as a former band nerd, the marching bands are pretty spot on.
Nick Cannon plays Devon, a drummer who goes to an Atlanta college and joins the marching band. He’s the worst kind of cocky as he’s so arrogant he can barely take criticism. Devon chafes under the rules of a squad leader and the director of the band, Dr. Lee. A moral crisis as well as a revelation regarding Devon’s musical knowledge (spoiler: he can’t read music) lead Devon to grow up and become a better musician.
The thing about Drumline is that the marching bands are as much a character as Devon. I grew up in football crazy Texas, where marching band is part and parcel of the Texan obsession with all things pigskin related. (Halftime entertainment is taken very seriously.) Drumline does convey a lot of the work and sheer grind of being in a marching band, as well as the strange customs and habits a lot of bands have. Devon’s storyline can be downright exhausting, not to mention irritating. His attitude problems wear thin after a while.
The bit players are often the most entertaining. And Drumline features some interesting marching shows even if the plot, especially when it comes to the love story, is worn so thin holes are beginning to show. It is still surprising that they made a successful movie out of marching band, given that I understand a lot of folks don’t really get the appeal of marching bands, but the director, writer and producers pulled it through. The bands are fun and the band members aren’t geeks, something too often trotted through any movie since it’s such a simplistic, well-traveled joke.
That’s not to say Drumline doesn’t take itself too seriously at times, which makes it at points really laughable. The story line between Nick Cannon’s character and his squad leader is alpha male macho bullshit in such a hilarious way, you have to wonder if they played it up for laughs. It’s clear that Nick Cannon is ultra-serious about his role as Devon to the point of taking it too far at times, which makes his part feel less conflicted, overcompensating young man and more egotistical jerk, like that one person everyone knows who’s so into themselves everyone around them is aware of how silly they really are.
Overall, Drumline‘s not a bad movie but not a great one either; I would suspect it’s the kind of movie that’s fun to watch with friends and giggle at when you need something light-hearted and refreshing (after this spate of horror flicks, I certainly needed that). Good, clean fun, as the grown-ups would say.