Really Funny–Until It Isn’t

Shaka King, NYC, 6/11/13

Shaka King, NYC, 6/11/13

“Newlyweeds,” Shaka King’s debut feature, starts out as a sweet stoner comedy about a young and pretty, underemployed (mostly by choice) African-American couple in Bed-Stuy but moves through increasingly dark territory, touching tragedy.

Nina (Trae Harris), uniquely stylish, and good-natured Lyle (Amari Cheatom) share an apartment and an insatiable appetite for weed.  They have an easy rapport and major chemistry and together imagine a future beyond their burnt-out capabilities.

Lyle works as a repo man for Manny’s Rent-to-Own, a job full of incident and aggression, but feels remorseful when he and his equally impaired co-worker and friend, remove a disabled man’s sofa, misreading the pick-up address, mistaking street for avenue.  Nina initially spends her days at home, reluctantly becoming a tour guide at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, a job for which she has talent and performs well, even when high.

Two drug mishaps lead to disaster (and a very funny scene with an eight-year-old, his deceased grandmother and a tree), a slackening of standards of personal hygiene, and waste–of their love and possibly their potential.

“Newlyweeds” will open at Film Forum on Wednesday, September 18.  Shaka King, Amari Cheatom and Trae Harris will be in person at the 8:20 pm show and there are an additional four events with the filmmakers and actors.

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