Entertainment Weekly - 04/07/2006
"[A] gentle ode to good pals and roller-skating nights....The skate scenes are a blast."
New York Times - 04/11/2006
"The fun here is in seeing a new batch of rappers try acting, and some of them turn out to be eminently watchable."
Box Office - 06/01/2006 3 stars out of 5 -- "ATL is an exceptional movie for its weight and class, which is that of a light urban coming-of-age dramedy where the veneer may be darkly intriguing, but the finish is pure homily..."
Grammy-nominated rapper T.I., whose real name is Tip Harris, gives an inspired performance as the star of ATL. Set in Atlanta, Georgia, and directed by music video veteran Chris Robinson, ATL tells the story of a group of teenagers facing the harsh realities of life. T.I. plays Rashad, a young man making tremendous sacrifices so his little brother, Ant (Evan Ross, son of Diana Ross), can have a better future. Orphaned after their parents died in a car accident, Rashad and Ant work after school as janitors with their uncle George (Mykelti Williamson), who has taken them in to keep them out of foster homes. Every Sunday night, Rashad teams up at the roller-skating rink with his best friends: Esquire (Jackie Long), who has a shot at going to the Ivy League if he can make the right connection; Brooklyn (Albert "Al Be" Daniels), a soft-spoken poet carving out a career in the fast-food industry; and Teddy (Jason Weaver), who works at Eddy's Gold Teeth and provides much of the comic relief. At the rink, they get to be the stars of the show, whirling around, impressing girls, and just being themselves, far away from the daily grind. Rashad soon hooks up with New-New (Lauren London), who refuses to let him see where she lives, harboring a secret that could tear their growing love apart. Meanwhile, Ant starts doing jobs for local drug dealer Marcus (OutKast's Big Boi), attracted to the fancy cars and fast money, and Esquire has some tough choices to make after meeting a high-powered businessman (Keith David). With the critical roller-skating contest right around the corner, things reach a fever pitch, all set to a cranking crunk soundtrack. ATL was inspired by the real-life experiences of music producer Dallas Austin and TLC's Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins; the story is by Antwone Fisher, the subject of Denzel Washington's 2002 directorial debut.
Description by Warner Home Video:
Sometimes 17-year-old Rashad and his pals hang out at the Waffle House, trying to figure out what's next after they graduate. But on Sunday nights, they know what's coming. They'll be at the Cascade roller rink: laying down moves, chillin' with friends...and for a few hours leaving what's outside outside.
ATL is a Sunday night fever of laughs, drama and crunk sounds. Video director Chris Robinson makes his feature debut, guiding an ensemble that includes astonishingly natural movie newcomers Tip Harris (aka rapper T.I.), Lauren London and Antwan Andre Patton (aka Big Boi of the duo OutKast).
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