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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Rob Reviews "Patti Cake$"

What would you do if you had one shot, one opportunity…

Hold on. Wrong film.

When “Patti Cake$” was pitched to me as a white-Jersey-girl version of “8 Mile,” I was a bit apprehensive but still interested. Not being a huge fan of the film it was compared to, I took the route of this being the film to officially close the 11th Dallas International Film Festival to keep me intrigued to see it because you wouldn’t not want to finish strong, right?

In this case: RIGHT.

With first-time feature director Geremy Jasper working with an Australian actress who had never rapped before in Danielle Macdonald, there would theoretically be a lot working against this film, but the fact that it all works brilliantly and keeps a wonderful sense of humor is a testament to the dedication of everyone involved with this project. There are a TON of laughs in here without getting to the point of parody or ridiculous, a really head-bobbing soundtrack, and really great relationships with the characters that this cast pulls off in the greatest of ways.

And when you speak of this cast… it’s not just Macdonald that brings the top of her and everyone else’s game here. “The Get Down” star Mamaudou Athie is both intense and hilarious as a mysterious performance artist and producer that Patti takes on to shape her sound named Basterd, Siddarth Dhananjay does great comedic relief while keeping the character of her best friend and vocal partner, Jheri, grounded and not caricature, an appearance by M.C. Lyte as a local radio D.J., and the members of Patti’s family with comedy veteran Bridget Everett as her mother who tries to hang on to her own former musical glory and the wonderful Cathy Moriarty as her grandmother who becomes a catalyst for Patti’s hip-hop persona development.

Add all of this together and combine it with a script that Jasper constructs that plays to his actor’s strengths to the point that there is a level of questioning whether the script of the actors came first, and “Patti Cake$” getting picked up by Fox Searchlight was a sure bet when it aired at the Sundance Film Festival to be released this summer. Whether you are a fan of hip-hop or not, this is a film that can be enjoyed by fans across all barriers. Just make sure to leave the kids at home.

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