Before you ask, no! That dollar sign is intentional. It’s not a typo, it is just the name of the film. A little bizarre I know but strangely fitting as it turns out. I didn’t expect a lot from this film but it is strangely charming and a film I would recommend you go and see for a good drama with lots of emotions.
The story focuses on the young rapper, Killer P (aka Patti Cake$), played by Danielle Macdonald, who is working as a barmaid in an absolute dive which her mum (Bridget Everett) frequently visits, only to mock her and abuse her daughter’s position by getting free drinks. Killer P dreams of more though; despite the prejudice against her that a fat white girl can’t do rap, she wants to make it big. Along with the help from her optimistic friend, a mysterious stranger and her grandma, the film follows their mission to get their music heard.
Now, if you read my review for the Tupac biopic, All Eyez On Me, from earlier in the year, you’ll know that I really don’t know much about this genre of music. I just about knew who Tupac was. However, from my more frequent cinema visits, I was well-acquainted with the trailer for this. And whether by its own merits or just by annoyingly boring its way into my subconscious like the latest Taylor Swift song, I was looking forward to seeing it. It looked fun and I was mostly right.
The film has great little jokes and funny moments, aided by the performance and chemistry between Patti and her friend, Jheri. They are very believable little friends and Jheri provides a lot of levity to the film. It’s not all fun and games though because there are some quite heavy dramatic moments. The film stumbles a little dealing with them but MacDonald’s performance holds your hand through these parts. Really, this film is a credit to the talent of the young actress because this film would be significantly more mediocre without her. Most significantly for me though, the music was strangely enjoyable and catchy and I found myself reciting P-B-N-J on the way home. I almost felt like trying to get the soundtrack. So, in a way, Patti was pretty successful!
But whilst the relationship she has with her family and friends is solid, the one she has without the mysterious stranger never quite settled for me. They have moments that are quite tender but due to his role as what is basically a mute, it is hard to really feel for him when he stands looking like a zombie! The plot also is a little incoherent at times with later developments seeming more like a needless and unwarranted slap in the face for Patti rather than critical character development.
All in all though, this film is a decent little drama, with good heart and good humour that is a great little film to go see if you want to feel all the feels. MacDonald is the stand-out in a slightly messy story but one that altogether leaves you uplifted. Get watching.