Review: ‘Newlyweeds’ is worth a giggle

Amari Cheatom as Lyle and Trae Harris as Nina in a scene from "Newlyweeds."
(Phase 4 Films)

Part “Days of Wine and Roses,” part early-funny Spike Lee, writer-director Shaka King’s intriguing, slippery-witted stoner love story “Newlyweeds” zeros in on a young Brooklyn couple — downcast-looking repo man Lyle (Amari Cheatom) and hippie-ish museum worker Nina (Trae Harris) — in the languorous ecstasy of a romantic pot haze. That is, when they’re not scrambling to make ends meet, arguing or making terrible decisions with lasting consequences.

Lyle’s time outside the pair’s den of weed-fueled intimacy is taken up with the perpetual hangover of a grim job (not always done well) and scoring more cannabis (which also proves problematic). Nina, meanwhile, befriends a flirtatious co-worker with his own primo stash, to the consternation of her boyfriend. Before long, run-ins with the law and her parents threaten their dreams of escaping to the Galapagos. But was it ever a realistic option?

PHOTOS: Billion-dollar movie club

More a series of darkly comic vignettes than a conventional romance, King’s exploration of chemically altered human chemistry is amusing if slight, and his two leads are appealingly solid, especially Cheatom. But the attention-grabber is King’s mosaic-like depiction of Brooklyn, shot with a captivating vibrancy by Daniel Patterson. The sights, sounds and sociological quirks of Lyle’s and Nina’s particular circle of existence are what give “Newlyweeds” its indie resonance, less a city symphony than an urban alt-fugue.




MPAA rating: R for drug use throughout, pervasive language, some sexual references and brief violent images

Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Playing: Cinemark Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15 and Rave 18, Los Angeles