Rockin’ the cliches

Something of a breakout hit at this year’s Sundance festival, with reported standing ovations and large amounts of kudos bestowed on Aussie first-timer Danielle MacDonald, Patti Cake$ is nevertheless a hugely tedious bore of crowd-pleasing platitudes, life-affirming cliches and frankly terrible music.

PATTI CAKE$

Director: Geremy Jasper
Cast: Danielle MacDonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudoe Athie, Cathy Moriarty
Rating: (R13) 
Four stars (out of five)

Spoiler alert, I walked out ... Given the material, MacDonald is excellent, and the sole reason to see this.

She plays New Jersey down-and-outer Patricia Dombrowski (a.k.a. Dumbo, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$), an aspiring poet/rapper/musician hoping to make it out of her lot with a CD mixtape and a bunch of sassy attitude. Her flow is great, it’s just a shame about the backing tracks.

Taking cues from, most obviously, 8 Mile, but with no other discernable film-making skill or writing talent, music video hack Geremy Jasper (co-director of such classics as Selena Gomez’s Love You Like a Love Song) goes through every patronising, feel-good trick in the book, from a domineering mother (Bridget Everett), to a frail, wheelchair-ridin’ gran (Cathy Moriarty) and a Yoda-like mentor (Mamoudoe Athie), who for some reason lives in a shack in the woods.

It all adds up to one of the most depressingly insipid experiences I’ve ever had in a movie theatre.

I thought hard about whether I should even review this, given I missed the ending (presumably an uplifting, inspirational climax of some sort), so please don’t take my word for it, it could indeed work for you, your mileage may vary.

- Jeremy Quinn

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