**½/**** Image B+ Sound A Extras B-
starring Nick Cannon, Zoë Saldaña, Orlando Jones, GQ
screenplay by Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps
directed by Charles Stone III
by Bill Chambers Appealing newcomer Nick Cannon stars in Drumline as Devon, a Harlem high-school graduate making the transition from a big fish in a small pond to a guppy in the ocean that is Atlanta A&T. Devon begins his gruelling training for A&T's mostly-black drumline on the wrong foot, wearing dark colours when white was demanded, failing to get his roommate to the first tryout on time, and claiming an instrument reserved for upper-tier members of the drumline--and refusing to give it back until he's shown some respect by veritable drill sergeant Sean (Leonard Roberts). The one bold move that works in Devon's favour at the start is hitting on Laila (Zoë Saldaña), captain of the cheerleading squad; she and Devon's superiors, including the drumline's manager, Dr. Lee (Orlando Jones), aim to turn the boy into a man through demonstrations of tough love peppered with encouragement.