Movie review: 'White Boy Rick'

Kenae Frazier | Contributing Writer

Courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing

There have been a lot of movies in the running for “Worst Movie of the Year,” but “White Boy Rick” takes the cake, ice cream and party favors. This movie isn’t even Netflix-worthy and it didn’t help Rick's family didn’t like the movie either.

Richard Wershe Jr., also known by his street name “White Boy Rick,” grew up in the environment of drugs and gun violence. His dad was a bad and cheap arms dealer to local drug dealers around the trenches and slums of Detroit. Rick became friends with these dealers sparking a fascination of that sex and drugs lifestyle.

It wasn’t long before he became a victim of the environment he was infiltrating and began dealing himself. When the police caught on to his involvement, he became the youngest FBI informant at 14 years old.

When Rick decided to quit his role as an informant and go into business for himself. He managed to align himself with a drug smuggler and become a major kingpin himself. Unfortunately, Rick got himself arrested for possession of 650 grams of cocaine, which is an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.

In hopes of getting a lighter sentence, he snitched on all his inside connects and exposed one of the biggest police corruption cases. But, his sentence remained the same and he would go on to spend the next 30 years in jail.

Now, that is the real story, straight shot no chasers. The movie however, didn’t portray all the real facts in the film.

The movie made it seem like Rick was a kid who got caught up in a bad lifestyle and then got tired of being poor, so he became the guy he thought was winning.

The parts that pissed me off with this movie, is that it was made to be a movie at all. There was not enough content in the film for it to be considered a cohesive piece of work.

All the great drug, crime films have narration. This film desperately needed narration, whether it was by Rick or his dad. It needed it to help move the movie along.

The characters in the film were actually not that bad, it was just the screenplay itself that seemed like it couldn’t hold up. Matthew McConaughey was definitely the MVP of the movie.

He played the father how it was imagined in real life and at that time to be poor and struggling, living in the “hood” as a white person. He wanted better for his kids and the audience really got a feel for a loving and caring father.

Another misstep with this film, was the fact that there was not specific target audience for this film and it should have been. The amount of times the “N” word was used, I started to get uncomfortable for the white people in the theatre.

I was also mad at the fact that the film was so slow into getting things going. There were too many filler scenes and not enough scenes that actually focused on Rick being a dealer. I really didn’t feel like Rick was a top teenage kingpin dealer, he felt more like a kid playing a role he didn’t fit in.

There are more scenes of his sister’s addiction than there are any other scenes about Rick. This film felt more about his sister than it did him.

Also, I so desperately want to compare this film to “Goodfellas,” but that would just be downright wrong and insulting. But I have to compare the snitching.

Rick was never built for the lifestyle he was living in, he just wanted the good parts of it. In comparison with Henry, who wanted the good parts and was willing to deal with the upside too. Henry didn’t have a choice in the matter of him snitching, either he did it or he was dead. Rick’s life didn’t seem in danger, he was portrayed as he was willing to do it to save his ass but, that still didn’t work out for him.

The ending was awful too. The PowerPoint slides to give a summary of his life and what a tragic situation he was in was just a slap in the face to anyone who watched it. They could have shown more about his time in jail. How the police corruption case wasn’t as successful as it could’ve been. Hell, they could have shown his sister life after. It was just terrible all around and kind of had a “fuck it” vibe in the end. Like the director just gave up because he knew the film was bad and didn’t need to go on any longer.

This film could have fared better on Netflix, but that would be lying. This movie was based on a documentary and it should have just stayed a documentary. Even with the amazing performances that Richie and Matthew had, it still couldn’t save this movie. It was beyond disappointing and I want my money back.