Every few years we are given that one teen comedy that speaks to our younger generation, hitting very close to the mark with topics and humour that they can relate too. Even though the influx of teen movies has been immense nothing has really quite hit the spot.
Enter Dope, a film whose executive producers just so happen to be Golden boy Pharrell Williams and Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs, bringing that all too familiar formula of the younger generation’s high school struggles of wanting to fit in.
Dope follows three nerds, Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his two best friends, Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons), all obsessed with 90’s hip hop culture from the music they love to style of clothing they wear. Malcolm has a chance meeting with the neighbourhoods resident drug dealer, Dom (A$AP Rocky), instantly building up a rapport as he plays the romantic go-between for Dom and Nakia (Zie Kravitz). Dom invites Malcolm to a nightclub where he ends up with a backpack full of drugs when the club gets raided. Being a straight-laced, Grade-A Student, Malcolm has no idea what to do with the drugs, leading to a whole host of first funny adventures for him and his buddies.
Malcolm soon realises the only choice he has, once he finds out that his whole future to go to college and make something of himself relays in this is to become a temporary dealer himself. What commences is a highly organised operation to sell these drugs via the internet proving that being a nerd certainly has its plus points as the story becomes extremely clever in the way the whole episode is handled.
In typical fashion, Dope has the token party scenes, where Malcolm and his buddies get a chance to perform in their band, a near miss in losing his virginity when the main drug dealer’s daughter gets high and cavorts around half naked in a drug-fuelled stupor wanting to jump his bones but for once it’s the nerd that has a voice and it’s heard. We are programmed not to care for these characters in these films, but this storyline turns it all around on the audience, giving you no choice but to see and feel that we are all still human.
Writer and Director Rick Famuyiwa may not be a stranger to African-American cinema and has a catalogue that goes back many years seems to have taken a new direction in Dope concentrating on today’s pop culture and trying to tell us no matter if you’re a straight-laced person or not, in today’s society we have to sacrifice who we are for a little while to achieve a better life.
Dope has that John Hughes type feel. Doesn’t always flow well but is full of crass humour, lots of energy and has a mass appeal for its target audience.
Dope is out in UK Cinemas on the 4th of September 2015.