Dope could have just as easily been titled “Dare to be Different.” The movie, a bit of a mash up of Boyz n the Hood and Superbad, is clever and funny. In cliché movie review parlance, it’s a coming of age story. In more everyday speak, Dope is a story that probably mirrors many of our lives and the ups and downs of being a teenager. It’s about a few kids that found joy in laughter in spite of their challenging environment, as well as not being the coolest or the toughest. I particularly appreciated the ending that raises a brilliant question about race without being preachy or heavy-handed.
Shameik Moore did a great job as the lead character, Malcolm; and Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons were good as his partners in crime — literally and figuratively. The music and clothes were characters in the film as well. The only acting low point of the movie was the performance turned in by Roger Guenveur Smith. It was just too melodramatic and syrupy.
The only heads up I would offer is to be prepared for the word “niggah” — excuse me, I mean the “N-word” — to be dropped early and often. I gave up using that word a while back, but I understand its use is still quite commonplace. Interestingly, there is a scene in the movie that tackles use of the N-word by non-Blacks that was pretty funny.
I hope that Dope is not viewed simply as a “Black” movie, because I think it will/should appeal to a very broad audience. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to check out Dope. Let me know what you think in the comments.