At the request of Malcolm Adekanbi, I am going to close my eyes and imagine Dope is the story of white people from the suburbs — Hey! Did you see the new Superbad sequel? It was a little darker than the original film with some heavier themes, but damn do those crazy white kids get into some wild situations!
Dope is the story about three white geeks (Malcolm, Jib and Diggy) who, after a series of zany misunderstandings, are placed smack dab in a wild series of hijinks. After a mix up with a silly drug dealer (played by Macklemore) these three friends must work together to evade getting caught so that their hopes of college aren’t ruined.
I thought having the movie take place in a suburban setting hindered the stakes of the movie. At no point did I ever feel Malcolm, Jib and Diggy were in any sort of real danger. The whole movie felt safe, like there was a massive safety net under the characters at all times. When they end up with a backpack full of drugs I kept thinking to myself, “Why don’t these kids just bring it to the police? The police are there to help them!” But I guess the humor comes from how Malcolm, Jib and Diggy react to the completely foreign world of gangs and drugs instead of running to the safety of law enforcement.
Writer and director Rick Famuyiwa does a fantastic job setting up the world of Dope. The dialogue was quick, witty and poignant. All of the characters had their own unique personality. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see a little more character building from the main leads. We’re told repeatedly that they are geeks but they never really do geeky stuff. They just act like normal white kids from the suburbs. I would have loved to see their quirks explored just a little more.
The story moves along at a rather brisk pace. The movie chugs for a little bit in the middle when Malcolm, Jib and Diggy recruit the assistance of a shady, black guy named Will. The movie seems to get a little too bogged down with Will and his shady parties. But other than that quick detour, Dope is a quick, easy watch.
The big theme of Dope is that of a slippery slope. The movie slowly welcomes you with light comedy about white people problems with a little tiny splash of socioeconomic issues. But as the movie progresses you go a little farther from the safety of the suburbs and into the scary world of urban life. And then you go a little farther, and a little farther, and then–WHOOSH. You’re in the shit now, kid. Despite a moral that’s a bit too on the nose for my taste, Dope held my attention for almost the entire movie (damn you party sequences!) and had me laughing throughout. I just wish Dope wasn’t just another white kid from the suburbs movie. I wish…