DOPE is a film that Black Nerds have been waiting for since… ever! The idea of Urkel representing the complexity of being a nerd and black is a true misrepresentation of the brothers and sisters of geekdom. Especially if you add the element of being in a rough neighborhood.
Most all of the acting was on point, and Shameik Moore as Malcolm was definitely able to carry the film with the support of Kiersey Clemons and Tony Revolori playing his two best friends. The setup didn’t take long as Malcolm spells out the hazards of trying to maintain his love of anime, gaming and the 90s culture and not folding to certain drug and gang peer pressure, or sneaker snatching bullies.
But that was only the beginning as Malcolm and his friends get unintentionally caught up with one bad element after another; each situation jumping between decent comedy and drama (much more of the first). On top of that, the story was well told and there were some epiphanies here and there. Not that it was complex, but it had some thoughtful moments.
One word about Zoe Kravitz. She’s maturing as an actor and I hope to see her in a lead role very soon. Especially if it involves action or future tech. Or even a weird little movie that she can get some acclaim for. She also stood out in this film as the somewhat love interest.
There may have been a momentary slow point in the film, but this could almost compare to some of the classic teen hijinks romps of the past. What sets it apart those others is how the film carved a unique groove for itself by blending and mashing cultures in a non-cliche way. My only real criticism is that I would have liked to have seen some of the more sketchy characters have a small geek moment. Like comment on some nerd conversation that Malcolm, Diggy and Jib would be having. The script tried to do that with a discussion about 90s rap, but I would have been happier with some DragonBall Z talk. Because truthfully, there are a lot of undercover nerds out there in them streets.
For the Blerds out there, Geek Soul Brother gives DOPE 4 OUT OF 5 COSMIC AFROS. Blerd, Nerd or Geek should check it out.