Patti Cake$ Adam-Fresco'S REVIEW
Geremy Jasper’s fictional story of plus-sized would-be New Jersey rapper Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, is a clichéd crowd-pleaser that’s so energetic, the “been-there, seen-that” cynic in me surrendered to its gritty simplicity.
Whilst it’ll never be accused of originality, it does boast a big heart, a superb young cast, a cracking musical soundtrack that left me wanting more, and a stand-out lead performance by Australia’s Danielle Macdonald as Patti. Maligned for her size, looked down on for her working-class roots, dismissed as an overweight loser by all but her outsider friends, Patti is a bold breath of fresh underdog air in a cinematic landscape that often seems full of perfect people, with flawless physiques and idealised lives.
I was engaged and entertained by the story of Patti and her kooky crew, as they form PB&J, their band of outsider misfits, which even finds room for Patti’s ailing grandma, making for one hilarious oddball rap group photoshoot. Far from a schmaltzy fairy tale, it’s a story encompassing family dysfunction, poverty, and negative body image — sentimental yet never soppy, inspirational rather than insipid, poignant without feeling phoney.
Think Rocky with rap, or 8 Mile with a smile and a poor, white, female rapper. Patti Cake$ delivers a big, bold, anti-body-shaming, never-judge-a-book-by-its-cover, morality tale about family, friendship, and young people born on the wrong side of the tracks daring to dream big.
Saw this at the film festival in Auckland. Not original but a blast.