17 July 1999 | Soujiro
Refreshingly Realistic, Well Acted, Light Hearted Laughs
The most refreshing aspect of this movie is the mere fact that the three main African American characters are not : drug dealers, wise cracking officers of the law, pimps, womanizing alcoholics, bums, etc.
However, they are also not annoyingly wholesome. These three guys are real people with real problems. I'm not saying that the previously mentioned stereotypes don't exist, but I'm sick of being beat over the head with stereotypes while at the same time being told how evil stereotyping is.
This is the coming of age story of three black kids growing up in a suburb of Southern California. I don't know if Rick Famuyiwa is black or not, but he can write excellent black dialogue. Contrary to popular belief, most black people do not say f*** seven times in every sentence and this film acknowledges and respects that fact. The film does drag at points, but there are definitely big laughs and the flashbacks taking place in the mid 1980's are beautifully done. One almost feels that the film should have been shot as one long flashback sequence.
All in all, I feel that this is a great movie for people of any color to see. The movie is rated R, but it's very light hearted and aside from some language that any child over the age of ten has been exposed to, and one very funny and non-graphic sex scene, there's nothing offensive. I am inclined to think that African Americans have come to expect nudity, explicit sex, and violence in movies aimed at them, and some might ironically be disappointed by the cheerful mood of the movie. I hope that I'm wrong.
This is an American Pie-ish movie that you won't be ashamed to show your kids (or your parents) and a Soul Food-ish movie that your kids will actually enjoy. An excellent first movie for Rick Famuyiwa and a nice change of pace in black cinema.