COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 45min
STARRING: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons
Busting out: from left, Revolori, Clemons and Moore
Who or what is not to cheer for in a high-school-nerd-makes-good situation? Especially when that very nerd is the wicked-smart, societally challenged Malcolm (Moore), who is growing up fatherless in the black LA hood of Inglewood but never lets that deter him from the whiter-than Harvard track he’s set on. That is, until Malcolm lands in a jam not even his fellow punkers and BFFs (The Grand Budapest Hotel ’s Revolori as stressy Jib and Clemons, hanging tough, as dykey Diggy) can yank him free from. When a drug dealer’s (A$AP Rocky) ecstasy stash is planted in his backpack at a party that falls apart, Malcolm nosedives down a rabbit hole bristling with trigger-happy crazies.
Luckily, he’s a fast learner. Writer-director Rick Famuyiwa’s boppy, exponentially tall tale of Malcolm, Jib and Diggy’s coolifying evolution from geekhood to the dope status of off-the-cuff dealers makes a far more sparkling movie experience than actually living it surely would: Dope is a cruisey thumbs-up to the triumph of misfits rising. Just don’t try any of it at home.