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Review: ‘Dope’ lets the good times roll

A drug-based dramedy, "Dope" provides some quick laughs.

%28Left+to+right%29+Kiersey+Clemons+as+Diggy%2C+Shameik+Moore+as+Malcolm%2C+and+Tony+Revolori+as+Jib+in+%E2%80%9CDope.%E2%80%9D
(Left to right) Kiersey Clemons as Diggy, Shameik Moore as Malcolm, and Tony Revolori as Jib in “Dope.”

(Left to right) Kiersey Clemons as Diggy, Shameik Moore as Malcolm, and Tony Revolori as Jib in “Dope.”

Courtesy of Open Road

Courtesy of Open Road

(Left to right) Kiersey Clemons as Diggy, Shameik Moore as Malcolm, and Tony Revolori as Jib in “Dope.”

Amy Patton, Print Managing Editor

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While “Dope” lacks in freshness of plot and relies heavily on character tropes, this Sundance film makes up for in entertaining harebrained schemes and subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) humor.

Meet Malcolm (Shameik Moore): a 90s hip-hop fanatic from a rough neighborhood in Los Angeles. He and his two equally awkward sidekicks are happy being outsiders, and therefore removed from the drug abuse and crime that dominate the streets of their neighborhood.

That’s until they get mixed up with Dom, the local drug lord.

Though on paper this film may seem “so what,” the portrayal of these simple characters makes it fun and relatable, even if you’ve never run an underground drug chain via the Internet.

The cast alone is arguably enough to get any average pothead movie-goer to buy a ticket at the local AMC. ASAP Rocky as a drug lord? Yes. Zoe Kravitz as a smoking hot love interest, check. Blake Anderson as a conspiracy theorist going against the man in the name of drugs, sign me up.

What starts out as a sensationalized version of the old “nerd goes to the cool kid’s party” clichéd premise goes awry as main character Malcolm winds up with $100,000 worth of MDMA to sell after police raid Dom’s birthday party.

Dom, after being arrested, tells Malcolm to give the drugs to a mysterious fellow named A.J. He’ll take care of the problem, he says.

In a highly unlikely twist of irony and coincidence, A.J. is the very same man Malcolm is meeting that day for a Harvard admissions interview. The plot unravels from there as A.J. demands Malcolm sell the MDMA to maintain A.J.’s business reputation.

Cue the paranoid drug-addled friend (Anderson) to help Malcolm and his crew sell the drugs online for bitcoins.

Mishap and mayhem ensue. Humorous scenes of why-drugs-are-bad-for-you-stay-in-school-kids add a minor plot twist along the way to keep things interesting.

Throw in the hot chick down the street (Kravitz) who is only interested in “complicated” boys, and Malcolm shall soon become a complicated boy himself as prophesied by her foreshadowing. Add in some car chases, brief nudity and let the good times roll.

The movie won’t change your life, perspective or leave any real lasting impression on you. But what it will do is entertain. It’s an hour and a half well spent.

Keep in mind there are no CGI genius explosions or fight scenes, nor gorgeous scenery that warrant a $15 big screen ticket. Your television—or laptop screen—will suffice.

That being said, unless you are jonesing for some overpriced popcorn or trying to stay out of the heat this summer, save “Dope” for a Redbox night.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Director: Rick Famuyiwa

Cast: Sharmeik Moore, Blake Anderson, Zoe Kravitz, ASAP Rocky

MPAA Rating: R

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