Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Revolution Cinema: 5 Films to Put on Your "To-See" List This July 4th Holiday Weekend Revolution Cinema: 5 Films to Put on Your "To-See" List This July 4th Holiday Weekend Donald Glover's FX Project 'Atlanta' Casts its Leads as Production Gets Underway (Atlanta is *Hot* This Year) Donald Glover's FX Project 'Atlanta' Casts its Leads as Production Gets Underway (Atlanta is *Hot* This Year) ‘Little White Lie' - Engrossing Look Into One Family's Silence, Secrets & Denial of Race - Now Streaming on Netflix ‘Little White Lie' - Engrossing Look Into One Family's Silence, Secrets & Denial of Race - Now Streaming on Netflix "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' Trailer: Hannibal Buress Asks Life's Biggest Questions in New Comedy Central Series Coming 7/8, After 'Key & Peele' Trailer: Hannibal Buress Asks Life's Biggest Questions in New Comedy Central Series Coming 7/8, After 'Key & Peele' 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Full List of BET AWARDS Winners (Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard Take Actor Nods) Full List of BET AWARDS Winners (Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard Take Actor Nods) Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Review: Shaka King's 'Newlyweeds' Is A labor of Love Definitely Worth Seeing (Now In Theaters)

Shadow and Act By Zeba Blay | Shadow and Act September 20, 2013 at 10:55AM

Newlyweeds, the debut feature of writer-director Shaka King, is many things. It is an intriguing new take on the stoner comedy, the romantic comedy, and one might even say the “black comedy.”
1
Newlyweeds
Newlyweeds

Newlyweeds, the debut feature of writer-director Shaka King, is many things. It is an intriguing new take on the stoner comedy, the romantic comedy, and one might even say the “black comedy.”

It’s a charming independent venture that takes chances, many of which that work, in presenting a love story about growing up and growing apart. It’s also really funny. The film focuses on couple Lyle (Amari Cheatom) and Nina (Trae Harris), two twenty-somethings who spend a rather large portion of their time together getting high. Nina is a free-spirited tour guide at a local museum, while Lyle holds down a job he absolutely despises as a repo man for a seedy rent-to-own company.

Together, they create a bubble, a retreat from the world in their small New York apartment, where they share blunts and share dreams about changing their lives and traveling to distant lands together. But what once kept the couple close drives a wedge between them when Lyle complains about Nina’s proclivity for dipping too heavily and too frequently into their stash, while she criticizes him for spending all his money on weed when he could be saving up for their future travels. After some heated arguments, a night in jail, and a bad experience with a vaporizer and alcohol (which he usually never touches), Lyle’s life almost instantaneously spirals out of control.

Granted, a film about two stoners could never really go the route of a Requiem for a Dream or Candy, but if anything, the weed serves as a catalyst that opens up the cracks of bigger issues in their relationship. 

Thankfully, though, the fighting and the emotional drama is juxtaposed with humor - one particularly funny scene involves Nina looking on in horror as a group of elementary school children accidentally eat a batch of pot brownies in her bag - comedy most definitely ensues. 

Still, the humor is accessible to stoners and non-stoners alike, an impressive feat when you compare the film to more traditional stoner fare in which literally every joke is about smoking pot.

As the couple’s relationship fractures and Lyle’s life turns into what can only be described as a hot mess, the movie does at moments suffer from a lack of focus that mimics its main character’s own state of mind. 

But ultimately, shot in a fluid, intimate style, it’s the chemistry and charisma of Cheatom and Harris that makes the movie work so well. With her quirky dress-sense and striking looks, Harris’s Nina could easily be played up as just another manic-pixie-dream-girl type, but she is as dynamic and complex as Lyle, who is severely flawed but never so much that he himself turns into a caricature of a stoner. 

The film, which employed the use of the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter to finish production, is clearly a labor of love, and one definitely worth seeing.

Phase 4 Films will open the crowd-pleaser on September 182013, at Film Forum theaters in New York City.


Zeba Blay is a Ghanaian-born film and culture writer based in New York. She is a contributor to Huffington Post, Africa Style Daily, and Slant Magazine. She co-hosts the weekly podcast Two Brown Girls, and runs a personal movie blog, Film Memory. Follow her on Twitter @zblay.

This article is related to: Shaka King, Newlyweeds


Shadow & ActNewsletter