15 – 109mins – 2017
Adopting a string of sick ‘n’ tight pseudonyms, plus-size twenty-something Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald) dreams of leaving behind her debt-ridden, sad-sack New Jersey existence and making it big as a rap superstar. Can “Killa-P,” her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay) and mysterious musical anarchist “Basterd” (Mamoudou Athie) stick it to the haterz, impress idol O-Z (Sahr Ngaujah) and make it big?
Think 8 Mile with added charm and David Brent mockumentary Life on the Road minus the out-and-out mugging comedy and you have Patti Cake$, a raps-to-riches journey auteured by writer/director/musician Geremy Jasper. With a sickly Nana (Cathy Moriarty) and a jealous, struggling ma (Bridget Little Evil Everett), Patti’s perseverance in the face of persistent obstacles shines through and leaves an almighty impression – as does her infectious ability to spit a slick lyric!
You’ll cringe and despair at the nastiest characters (McCaul Lombardi, I’m looking at you) and the plot’s darkest and lowest ebbs, but also laugh unabashedly as raw talent makes life’s hardest moments just that little bit easier to get through. Don’t judge a book by its cover and give Sundance breakout Patti Cake$ a spin – you won’t regret it.
CR@B’s Claw Score: