Newlyweeds

A match made in stoner heaven turns into a love triangle gone awry when Lyle can't decide which matters most, Nina or Mary Jane.

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  • ★★★½ review by Mike Hricik on Letterboxd

    Cannabis addiction really exists. Any pot user -- casual or heavy -- who begs to differ is flat-out lying. Such an addiction manifests many different behaviors, running the gamut from the stoned bliss of Up in Smoke to the crazed psychosis (OK, not really) of Reefer Madness. In any case, weed can function as a gateway drug that can unlock alternate selves. Newlyweeds' well-rounded Nina (Trae Harris, breaking out) describes coming back from a long trip to India as tapping her "Indian self" because she assimilated into the country's culture.

    Director Shaka King's remarkable feature-length debut traces a nightmare users sometimes ponder: that a combination of pot and character flaws can bring about an all-encompassing demise. As a result, the ooey-gooey gets the complicated cinematic examination it deserves. Amari Cheatom's Lyle's downfall intermingles with both his drug habit and love for Nina, leading to some interesting thematic threads. King's induced style rewards, even hilariously spoofing '70s buddy cop movies after Lyle takes a post-work smoke, but ultimately rushes too much for sequential consistency.

  • ★★★½ review by 48ONIRAM on Letterboxd

    Has some trouble deciding what tone it wants to go for. It's not always a bad thing when something varies like that but here it felt a bit...off. Also it's short length meant some dramatic moments seemed to come out of nowhere, with little character build up.

    Still, the performances are good, the writing shows a real latent talent with some more practice and the direction was really good. Looking forward to seeing what King does next.

  • ★★★½ review by MJ on Letterboxd

    To start, this film is greater than its title. It's greater than a lot of things (including its trailers and a lot of the promotional material that came with it), and doesn't deserve the negative connotations that come with the "stoner flick" genre.

    Much more of a dramedy than anything else, this film that is essentially about the downfall of a couple and a man's spiral into addiction is refreshingly honest. Although uneven, the film has a great sense of humor. Well shot, well acted, well edited.

    Despite lacking cohesion, this film is a treat. I so rarely enjoy contemporary comedies...I always find one too many bones to pick with. The comedy here does not come from stereotypes, but from the characters. This is where good work lies in all genres. I'm so glad I came across this flick.

    If this film is any indication of Shaka King's talent, he's gonna be a force to reckon with in a couple years.

  • ★★★½ review by ristubasan on Letterboxd

    I though this was a solid, sober story about addiction and disappointment. I don't really understand why so many of the reviews talk about comedy; I didn't see it. The lead characters' lives are delicately balanced and their commitments to themselves and each other are so imbalanced, it takes little to trip them over. Was there humor in the dialogue? Yes. That doesn't make it a comedy. I wanted to see a little more from Nina's point of view rather than from Lyle's, I thought the plot jumped a little too quickly from point to point because her changes in standpoint were assumed rather than articulated. But the focus on Lyle worked and made it a strong movie nonetheless.

  • ★★★★ review by jamawive on Letterboxd

    Really good. Stark and unsparing.

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