Dave White
On the Outs Review

Dave's Rating:


… an ABC Afterschool Special

Who's in It: Anny Mariano, Judy Marte, Paolo Mendoza, Dominic Colon

The Basics: Three teenage New York City girls go in and out of juvenile detention for drug-dealing, drug-taking and weapons possession. And guess what? Jail is totally not as glamorous and artfully lighted as it is in hip-hop videos.

What's the Deal? OK, so yes, it's an ABC Afterschool Special about Why You Should Straighten Up and Fly Right. And as much as I hate earnest movies about "real street life" in which hard lessons are learned about not being such a thug drug dealer — someone in your family could face harsh consequences because of your actions! — or carrying your boyfriend's gun in your backpack, this one doesn't make you want to slash the filmmaker's tires.

Yo! I Am Going to Keep It Real! Have you ever watched stuff like 21 Jump Street, in which there's a scene in a graffiti-covered alley and you stop paying attention to the actors because you're trying to figure out what moronic scenic artist wrote slang like "Fresh!" and "Dope!" on the wall? This movie is the opposite of that. It looks like the filmmakers just stole some video cameras and decided to shoot without a permit in some real-life sketchy crack apartments.

One to Watch: Judy Marte, who was so cool in Raising Victor Vargas — a movie you need to put in your Netflix queue — pretty much owns this whole thing as the hard-girl drug dealer. She's just one of the three leads, but she's definitely the strongest presence. If she walked into a convenience store you owned, you'd be fingering that panic button the whole time.

See Also: Girlhood, a documentary from a couple of years ago about real girls in juvenile detention and the impossible odds they face after they leave. This fictional take on the same subject was based on real cases and parts were shot in an actual detention facility.


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