Dope hit theaters tonight. Find out what we thought.
|" '80s. '90s. BMX never goes out|
of style, yo."
Bouncing between a great setup about three teenage hip hop geeks, a drug deal gone bad, entrance exams for Harvard, and miscalculated characters that should never have been introduced, Dope is a strange misfire that needed more time in the editing room and a second set of eyes on the ever expanding script. And to release this movie during blockbuster season is another confusing misstep that will surely see this thing get destroyed by Inside Out and Jurassic World this weekend. Dope finds a footing early on but ends up shifting too many times, ultimately losing momentum throughout.
From the trailers, Dope looked like it would be an entertaining coming of age tale that would pay respect to its predecessors. In some aspects it hits some high marks with awesome acting, an excellent throwback soundtrack, and some perfectly timed comedic performances. Unfortunately, director Rick Famuyiwa tries to cram too many ideas into his movie, causing the run time to expand while the sum of the story falters under the weight of non-essential elements that do nothing to move the plot forward. Through uncomfortable non-erotic moments to an uninspired Roger Guenveur Smith trying to relive his King of New York glory days, Dope is a muddled mess that should have stuck to one theme.
|"Tell me I look like my mom again|
and I'll beat your black ass."
I really wanted to like Dope. At the core, there's a solid foundation for an enjoyable movie here. With more time in the cutting room and a co-writer, this could have been a return to form for hip hop movie making. The acting serves its purpose, the music is fun to hear again, and the premise is really cool. With too much thrown in to the mix and a constant stream of unneeded story points, Famuyiwa turns in a mediocre film at best that sadly unravels its final message in a meandering conclusion that feels forced.