Newcomer Shameik Moore carries the film as Malcom. He's an easily relatable character and you root for him from the first moment you see him. He's not a typical kid from "The Bottoms". He obsessed with 90's hip hop and culture, gets good grades, likes stuff like Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons, and plays in a punk band. Much of Malcom and friend's interests are deemed "white shit" (which I thought was hilarious) by the other kids at school, and they are picked on constantly for it.
Aside from Moore, the whole cast is great, particularly Blake Anderson and Zoe Kravitz. Anderson is mainly there for comedy relief, and he delivers, while Kravitz is a love interest for Malcom. This might be the sexiest I've seen Kravitz play before.
While it's an extremely funny movie, director Rick Famuyiwa always manage to keep that threat of violence that exists in their world. More than a few times you are genuinely scared and concerned that these kids might not actually make it out of this mess. It gives the film a little more weight, where in lesser films like this you know that nothing is really going to happen to the characters.
Dope, simply put, is dope. This is one of those smaller films that's smart and funny, while giving you a different point of view. Highly worth a matinee, but at the time I'm writing this, I'm guessing it's likely going to be out of theaters for most of you.
4 (out of 5) Death Stars