A biopic about the life of rapper Biggie Smalls or The Notorious B.I.G. (née Christopher Wallace), who was murdered in 1997 at age 24, is getting mostly a bad rap from critics, who claim that it is primarily interested in enhancing the myths about his life that he himself invented, much of it in his music. Claudia Puig in USA Today comments "While Notorious is well-made, it mythologizes someone who treated people, particularly women, with disrespect and whose life and art glamorized drug use, promiscuity and violence. It seems an odd choice of film to open just days before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday." Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe and Mail skewers the film this way "This flick smoothes out the roughest edges, drains off the rawness and blandly retraces the narrative arc of every musical biopic since The Jazz Singer ." A. O. Scott in the New York Times concludes "It's half pop fable, half naturalistic docudrama. Not a bad movie, but nowhere near as strong as its soundtrack. It does not explain its hero so much as revel in the memory of his many selves." Glenn Gamboa in Newsday makes the case that "the real-life story ... is far more compelling than this movie." Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News sums up " Notorious is hagiography with guns, grass and flesh, but it's a kind of whitewash all the same."
There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.