This little indie’s a gift. Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is a single-parent, straight-A high-school student in the south central ‘hood who aspires to Harvard. He digs ’90s hip-hop, Game of Thrones and BMX bikes. Malcolm and fellow goofballs Diggy and Jib (Kiercy Clemons & Tony Revolori) have a band called “The Oreos.” They are geeks.
While threading their way between the local gangbangers and the local drug dealers, they sneak into a nightclub party that’s then raided, and, long story short, find themselves in possession of several bricks of the title MDMA, planted in Malcolm’s backpack amid the chaos.
Despite having zilch experience in the retailing of illicit street drugs, they opt to sell it themselves, but to do it on line and use Bitcoin to avoid detection. What could go wrong?
Don’t be thinking a black Ferris Bueller or Risky Business, now. Way better than that. Its brisk, no, headlong pace is complemented by some amusing editing, thankfully not overused, and a toe-tapping soundtrack.
This fresh Sundance fave from writer/director Rick Fumuyiwa is an appealing, unpredictable, and intelligent crowd-pleaser, rambunctious and irreverent, but insightful too and loaded with heart.
There’s a lot going on here: a coming-of-age saga; teen romance, urban gangstas, gross-out humor, and not least a thought-provoking political punch. It works because gluing it all together is Moore’s smart and sweet breakout performance. Watch this kid. Chanel Iman and Zoë Kravitz also have small roles, and Forest Whitaker supplies the narration when needed. (103 min)