A white, plus-sized female rapper from a depressed New Jersey suburb may be the most unlikely movie lead of the year. In “Patti Cake$,” Australian actress Danielle Macdonald plays a young woman derisively called ‘Dumbo’ who tries to make her mark by entering a rap contest. Macdonald is very good and the movie initially strikes a realistically gritty, R-rated tone. But “Patti Cake$” succumbs to some “Rocky”-type movie clichés that prevent it from being a complete success.
And speaking of clichés, the romantic comedy “I Do…Until I Don’t” has its share as well. A terrific cast that includes Ed Helms, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser, Wyatt Cenac and Amber Heard lends able support to the talented Lake Bell who wrote, produced, directed and stars in this raunchy but sentimental sitcom. Dolly Wells plays a British documentarian who recruits some married couples to prove her theory that marriage is an outdated institution. Although its heart is in the right place, “I Do…Until I Don’t” is a movie about contemporary marriage that seems divorced from reality.
Also opening this week, Oscar-winners Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz star in “Tulip Fever,” a romantic costume drama written by Tom Stoppard set in 17th Century Amsterdam. “Columbus” is a romantic drama starring John Cho as a Korean book translator who is stranded in a small American town. James Franco stars in a horror/bank heist movie, “The Vault.” “Lemon” is an absurdist comic drama about a struggling actor and his dysfunctional relationships. “Menashe” is a drama set amidst the New York’s Hasidic Jewish community. The Irish-American film festival takes place during KC Irish Fest Sept. 1-3rd at Crown Center. More info is available at kcirishfest.com. The 26th annual Latin American Film Festival begins Sept. 2nd at the Rio Theatre in Overland Park. Information is available at fineartsgroup.com.