I had a good weekend at the movies this past weekend. A good popcorn flick, an unexpected dark comic thriller, and now White Boy Rick, based on a true story. Is it up there with the other two?
Set in-between the years 1984 and 1987, the movie follows young Rick Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt), a lower class kid living in Detroit. His father Rick Sr. (Matthew McConaughey) sells guns in a mostly legal fashion, and the older Rick is an optimist with dreams of rebuilding the family that is the two of them and Rick Jr.’s junkie sister Dawn by eventually opening a chain of video stores. The younger Rick, on the other hand, decides to sell some of his dad’s guns to some local drug dealers, and that somehow gets him picked up by the FBI to act as an unwilling informant. As it is, much of what follows shows Rick doing things to get ahead the only way he knows how and the consequences that followed as a result, all before Rick reached adulthood.
Overall, this is a rather average movie. McConaughey can do this sort of stuff in his sleep, and additional cast members like Jennifer Jason Leigh as one of the FBI agents and Bruce Dern and Piper Laurie as McConaughey’s parents are largely wasted. Merritt is something of a blank slate, given the most screen time. He isn’t bad, but he isn’t particularly distinctive either. The last few minutes seems to be there to tack on a message about how messed up the American criminal justice system is, but there isn’t much special to this movie. It’s not bad, but it’s also not distinctive in any way. 7.5 out of 10 unwanted pancakes.
But hey, the other two I saw this past weekend were fun!