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Diddy can act! Who knew?

Despite successes in music and fashion, Sean "Diddy" Combs has been the Rodney "No Respect" Dangerfield of the acting world - that is, until last week's release of the comedy "Get Him to the Greek," in which Combs plays a tyrannical record-label bigwig.

Not a stretch, you say? Perhaps, but Combs has made an impression as Sergio Roma, a money-loving, artist-hating CEO who forces a young underling (Jonah Hill) to baby-sit a druggie rocker (Russell Brand, reprising his Aldous Snow role from 2008's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"). Though reviews have been mixed, critics have been singling out Combs as a bright spot and a proverbial stealer of scenes. (Unfortunately, his funniest lines are not printable in a family newspaper.)

As Roma, Combs is clearly satirizing his own real-life job as head of Bad Boy Records and his status as rap's Donald Trump - remember the show "I Want to Work for Diddy"? But Combs also took the Roma role seriously. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he revealed that he wrote out not just a back story for the character but an entire childhood.

Praise is somewhat new for Combs as an actor. His breakout role as a death-row convict in 2001's "Monster's Ball" struck many as gimmicky casting, and his turn in a 2004 Broadway production of "A Raisin in the Sun" earned barely passing grades from critics. With "Get Him to the Greek," the rapper-producer-designer has added his least-likely title yet: funnyman.

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