"This is not some rap video or a Quentin Tarantino movie. This is real life," Nancy (Aisha Tyler) tells her foot-shorter, aspiring journalist white boyfriend Paul (David Arquette). Wrong. Paul's obsession for drug dealer King David's (DMX) life, a life that ends in the backseat of Paul's car, nudges out his fetish for taller black women. King David has left him the keys to his pimped-out Oldsmobile, a quarter-million dollars and, most importantly, his autobiography recorded on cassette tapes that will finally, hopefully break the Jewish Paul out as a writer -- if he can get his black publisher to believe the story. About every 10 years comes a story glorifying the alpha-male figure martyred for playing by his own rules, cinematically portrayed amidst gratuitous violence and mayhem: Scarface
(1983), 1993's Carlito's Way
and Menace II Society
, and this decade's Never Die Alone
and The Whoop-Assin' of the Christ
. Never Die Alone
never finds its setting, though: Cats dress like Superfly, sniffing coke all the same, while talking on pop-song-ringing cell phones and driving chrome-wheeled SUVs. Paul's apartment has a Wu-Tang poster between Miles Davis and Charlie Parker posters. Much of '70s novelist Donald Goines' eponymous novel is lost in this movie translation: We never learn why King David is so cold-blooded, though it's clear he's the reason his son is. So at the end it feels very much like a DMX music video with a pulp-fiction plot and not at all like real life.