MIKE’S RATING SCALE:
MASTERPIECE, GREAT, REALLY GOOD, GOOD, MEH, BAD, TERRIBLE, INDESCRIBABLY BAD
Morris from America:
Quite often we see coming of age comedies follow the same tropes. The protagonist falls in love with a girl, gets his heart-broken, doesn’t usually fit in and indulges himself in drugs along with other vices which he later learns doesn’t make him happy ultimately arriving at the conclusion of how he should grow in life. Most times these dramatic devices come across as boring predictable studies where we see ourselves for the millionth time within a character where much like most of our lives is not very interesting. Writer/Director Chad Hartigan incorporates the same elements that’s present in coming of age films but without the feelings of guilt, judgement or pretension. It simply works through marvelous writing that one can tell comes from the mind of an idealist who’s always happy to show everyone the excitement he feels.
Morris from America is a film that resounds with Hartigan’s enjoyment. Hartigan creates a character reflecting his own childhood through the eyes of a 13 year African-American boy named Morris, played charmingly by Markees Christmas, a young YouTuber in real life who doesn’t carry around the fictitious weight that many young professional actors would perhaps bring to the table. Played alongside him is his father Curtis portrayed by lovable funny man Craig Robinson (The Office and Hot Tub Time Machine) The supporting cast consists of Morris’ love interest Katrin (Lina Keller) and his hip German teacher Inka (Carla Juri) known from the gross out dramady Wetlands.
Morris is placed with the unpleasant task of not just simply being moved out of his neighborhood but placed in an entirely different country altogether. Now living in Germany due to his father coaching a soccer team, Morris tries to blend in to a foreign land as an American hip hop gangsta wannabe. In his adventures he stumbles across a love interest who introduces him to a world of late night debauchery. To my great pleasure the film never depicts drug or alcohol consumption amongst minors as negative traits but rather natural ones that we all encounter in our journey of growth. Every joke hits its mark. Every character has their own unique trait. Nobody feels like a shallow resemblance of themselves. Morris from America certainly had the trappings of being yet another wacky coming of ager with the slight twist of being set in Germany as its main punchline. Through Hartigan’s writing and Christmas chewing up the scenery with all the fun he was having alongside Robinson projecting his lovable fat guy every man persona, the team delivers a very consumable popcorn comedy that follows the conventions of its genre in a non condescending way leaving me delightfully happy until the very end. Morris from America will be releasing wide on August 19th.
FINAL RATING: REALLY GOOD