Thursday, June 18, 2015
The imperfect comedy Dope is still a laugh-out-loud good time.
Review by Matt CummingsIn Director/Writer Rick Famuyiwa's Dope, Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is a high school senior who wants desperately to escape the gang-infested Inglewood for the success of Harvard. He's smart but dorky, ambitious yet mindful of the problems around him, loves 90's Hip-Hop, and dresses like he was transported out of a Kid n' Play video. His friends the 14% African-American Jib and the dike Diggy (Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons) are also band mates and band geeks, jamming out after school to the disgust of the custodians. But Malcolm's life changes when he's invited to a club where the thug Dom (rapper A$ap Rocky) gets involved in a drug-related shootout, dumping his bricks of drugs and a weapon into Malcolm's backpack. Upon its discovery, Malcolm must decide whether to dump it, deliver it to AJ (Roger Smith), or the craziest idea: sell it. The DUFF and the gorgeous Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl), Dope can happily assume its place behind this pantheon of modern-age John Hughes/Cameron Crowe 80's classics. Minus its inability to actually end and the horrible decision to sell drugs (albeit to screw AJ), this one could have sat alongside The Breakfast Club and Better off Dead. Dope is a funny, inventive, sometimes deep affair whose experience will largely depend on who sees it. Regardless of who that may be, its particular brand of comedy is infectious and might actually lead to the kinds of conversations with children that I think Whitaker and Famuyiwa are hoping for. Let's just hope that the legality of selling drugs to implicate another is not one of them. Dope is rated R for language, drug content, sexuality/nudity, and some violence-all involving teens and has a runtime of 103 minutes. Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.