Now I’ve been seeing this trailer for a good long while now. Of course, I’m no fan of rap music, but I can be interested in a story, which this looks like it is. It looks like it’s about this young woman trying to hit it big as a rapper. What I’m hoping to get more is that this woman has a great deal of self-confidence and doesn’t let anyone get her down when they comment on her weight. So I think this could be pretty good.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Danielle Macdonald, making her starring debut. Congrats, miss. In support, we have Bridget Everett (TRAINWRECK  and TV show INSIDE AMY SCHUMER [2013 – ongoing]), Siddharth Dhananjay (feature film debut; congrats, sir), Mamoudou Athie (THE CIRCLE  and TV show THE GET DOWN [2016 – 2017]), and Cathy Moriarty (THE BOUNTY HUNTER , CASPER , and RAGING BULL ).
Now for the crew. Directing, writing, and co-composing the score, is Geremy Jasper. Jeez, a jack of all trades here, eh? Anyway, he’s making his feature film debut. Congrats, sir. Co-composing the score is Jason Binnick, also making his feature film debut. Congrats, sir. Finally, the cinematographer is Federico Cesca, known for a ton of short films.
Overall, yeah, I’m fairly interested in this. Just gotta make the time to see it.
This is my honest opinion of: PATTI CAKE$
The story follows Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald), an aspiring rapper who goes by the moniker, Killa P, alongside her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay) in their downtrodden hometown in New Jersey. Along with attempting to book gigs at clubs to perform and trying to record demo tapes to get signed, Patricia’s home life is crumbling. With her promiscuous single mother Barb (Bridget Everett) and her sick grandmother Nana (Cathy Moriarty), the bills keep piling up as everyone struggles with their jobs to make ends meet. Things start to get serious for Patricia and Jheri when they meet the self-proclaimed anarchist musician who calls himself Basterd (Mamoudou Athie) and the three of them team up to make music and earn themselves a little respect and glory.
I have no idea what IMDb users find so disagreeable, but I’m siding with RottenTomatoes on this one. This movie is gripping and a joy to watch. No, it’s not the most original film in the world, but it works a hell of a lot more than it doesn’t.
First off, the star. Danielle Macdonald is fantastic. In most movies like this, a character like Patricia would be the rebel. One-dimensional, unlikable, even boring. But that’s not how she’s written. She’s thoroughly likable and you easily root for her. She comes from a pretty broken home, with a mother who’s promiscuous and probably an alcoholic. Her introduction into the film is her showing up at the bar where Patricia works in and pressures her into giving her free shots of Jäger, just so she can enjoy herself while singing karaoke and possibly getting laid. Of course, she ends up in a bathroom stall, and Patricia has to put her job on hold to hold her mother’s hair up. I really did appreciate that level of subtle loyalty that you know is woven into Patricia. Especially when that proverbial magnifying glass focuses more on their home life. They’re utterly broke, months behind paying off their bills, and both of them work like dogs to make ends meet, but never truly making headway. Patricia winds up getting two jobs, one of them paying exceptionally well, despite only working part time, and most of her money has to go to helping her mom.
I kind of think the relationship between Patricia and Basterd got a little forced, but because they’re so likable both as individuals and as a couple, I give it a pass. Even the rap isn’t all bad to listen to. I can’t always follow the lyrics, but it’s phonetically favorable to listen to.
One of my favorite moments is the ending. Patricia and PBNJ go in for the rap contest. They do great, but they don’t win. Again, kind of refreshing to see the protagonist sports team or band enter a contest that they don’t win. But in an awesome turn of events, they end the movie with their song being played on the radio. I thought that was a much more satisfying ending.
The closest thing to a complaint that I have is that it’s not very original, so some parts do drag a bit, and the daydream, special effects sequences were unnecessary. But overall, I think this is a pretty well-executed film held up very well by Macdonald’s performance and I hope to see her in bigger projects in the future that challenge her abilities so we can see just what kind of range she has. If you have a chance to see it in theaters, it’s worth a matinee screening.
My honest rating for PATTI CAKE$: 4/5