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Dope

"'Dope' is the bomb." (Washington Post)

"Writer/director Rick Famuyiwa shakes up the teen comedy formula and in the process has made one exciting and adventurous film. Dope might use a similar 'Risky Business' setup -- a geeky high school senior unwittingly learns harsh lessons about life after landing in big trouble -- but that's where the similarities end. The 2015 Sundance favorite is a true original. Best of all, it's set in a place Hollywood rarely visits in this genre -- the poverty-stricken, violence-prone area of Los Angeles known as 'The Bottoms' -- and convincingly pinpoints what needs to be fixed in this country.

"Dope is top-tier satire told with passion, intelligence and conviction, a wild, sometimes-unruly risk taker that makes us laugh loudly but has something serious to say about how society traps youths based on their skin color and ZIP code. Yet it's never a preachy lecture."

"A 4.0 student and '90s hip-hop fan, Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore, in a breakout performance) and his best buddies -- the equally smart Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and the skittish Jib (Tony Revolori - 'Grand Budapest Hotel's bellboy) -- find their lives upended when Malcolm discovers his backpack has been stuffed with a whole lot of dope -- dubbed Molly (Ringwald, get it?) -- and a firearm. Both are the property of a drug dealer Dom (rapper A$AP Rocky), who stuffs all of it in Malcolm's backpack when the nightclub the trio has sneaked into erupts into a chaotic gunfight. The most logical next step would seem to be for Malcolm to go to the authorities, but he knows that would likely leave him and his friends with targets on their backs or land them in jail. The threesome resolve that their only recourse is to actually sell the hot goods.

"That's a bold direction to take his film in, and Famuyiwa handles the topic with the right touch, mixing the pointed comedy with elements of violence and danger. The misadventures fluctuate from funny to serious and lead the trio to unexpected encounters with off-the-wall characters, paying homage to John Hughes along the way.

"If Famuyiwa deserves the lion's share of acclaim for making Dope such an inventive, hyperactive and electrifying comedy, it is nevertheless Moore who gives Dope its big heart." - San Jose Mercury

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