On the aptly fitting 4/20 (or, Easter Sunday to most) I headed to the London screening of Newlyweeds, the dope stoners-come-love film written and directed by newcomer Shaka King and co-produced by The Wire actor Gbenga Akinnagbe. Newlyweeds is a hilarious, unpredictable Brooklyn tale of a tryst between the three characters – Lyle, Nina…and Mary Jane.
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Lyle, played by Amari Cheatom, is a repo man who is intensely frustrated with his job, and his life. He’s only concerned about his weed, and his woman. Trae Harris plays the beautiful Nina, whose high takes on an ethereal state that seems almost enchanting (but would equally become really annoying if you had to hold a proper conversation with her over 5 minutes). Their relationship is a cycle of heady, hazy love, wanting more for themselves and wanting weed.
A few silly decisions during pursuit for the puff leads to bad times – and when Nina and Lyle’s days turn bad, they get stinker than a bad batch of skunk.
Within the hilarious moments and one-liners – “that is some Wu Tang shit” – is a real message about the impact of chronic smoking. We see how chasing the high through herb becomes just as problematic as seeking escapism through any drug.
Part of last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Newlyweeds is now available Stateside via DVD, on iTunes and Netflix, but last Sunday saw it’s first London screening. A UK release date is not yet confirmed, but watch this space – here’s hoping it hits UK screens soon.