Run time: 81 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd January 2013
Box Office USA: $97.8k
Distributed by: IFC Films
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 59 Rotten: 5
IMDB: 6.6 / 10
Director: Adam Leon
Producer: Dominic Buchanan, Natalie Difford, Jamund Washington
Screenwriter: Adam Leon
Starring: Tashiana Washington as Sofia, Ty Hickson as Malcolm, Zoë Lescaze as Ginnie
Shot on the streets of New York in a loose, freeform style, this lively comedy-drama feels somewhat underdeveloped, leaving us doubtful about its realism. But the characters are likeable, and their adventures are unlike what we usually see in these kinds of small American movies. So even if the film never quite convinces us to believe its story, it still has plenty of charm.
The focus is on teens Sofia and Malcolm (Washington and Hickson), who scam their way through life, stealing whatever they need. Their big passion is tagging the city with their graffiti, and they dream of doing a big stunt in the Mets' stadium to get some attention. But they need $500 to bribe their way in, so Sofia tries to collect some debts and sell some merchandise. Meanwhile, Malcolm makes a drug delivery to a rich girl (Lescaze) who flirts so relentlessly that he falls for her, even as he hatches a plan to return and steal her antique jewellery collection. But getting the cash together is taking too long.
The best thing about the film is the way Sofia and Malcolm are portrayed as smart kids who don't intend to be criminals: they just don't know how else to make a living. Of course, the irony is lost on them that all of this scamming is a lot harder than actually working a job. But their banter is intelligent and often very funny, as Sofia insults everyone she meets while Malcolm can't help but be likably goofy. And we also know that all of this effort is a bit pointless, since neither of them are that desperate.
Filmmaker Leon is careful to let us glimpse their quite decent home-lives, to put all of this in context, although he never makes it clear why they are so impatiently obsessed with this whole Mets stunt. What makes the film enjoyable is the improv-style interaction, which is packed with sassy attitude and awkward bravado. Some of this feels overplayed, as if we're watching actors workshop these characters rather than live like them. But even if they don't always convince us, we can't help but enjoy their amusing adventures.