Movie Review: Morris From America (2016)
Unique concept, poor execution.
The titular Morris (Markees Christmas), a 13-year-old, pudgy African-American kid, lives in Germany with his father, Curtis (Craig Robinson of† ďThe OfficeĒ), a former soccer player turned coach, and navigates adolescence as a stranger in a strange land. He battles racial stereotypes (that he plays basketball well, dances well, has a big ---), pursues Katrin, a cute Geman girl two years his senior (Lina Keller), and tries his hand writing hip-hop. He visits a castle and learns German.
But mostly itís the girl and hip-hop.
- I didnít buy Robinson as an international soccer player. Maybe former football player or wrestler? I also didnít buy him as a coach. He didnít occupy the field the way coaches do. He looked like he was a visitor; like he was trying to be inconspicuous as possible rather than standing and demanding and owning the space.
- I didnít like our main character at all. There wasnít enough interesting about him, probably because he wasnít interested in enough things. Of his two great pursuits, he wasnít particularly good with hip-hop (until he was), and the girl was both: 1) out of his league (physically), and 2) not worth his time (sheís kind of awful). Dude, youíre in Germany. Learn, absorb, appreciate. Which of course is the lesson of the movie at the end.
- I hated Katrin. Her prank at the party, with the fake kiss and the squirt gun to the crotch, was unforgiveable, and she never really redeemed herself. She got away with too much. What does she believe in? What does she care about? Besides her own looks and the effect it has on men/boys?
- I didnít like Morrisí German teacher, Inka (Carla Juri), who seems both too close/chummy with him during lessons, then reads his personal notebook and freaks at the misogynistic rap lyrics.
- I didnít like any of the Germans. How awful is that? Not one character is worth our time in this country? Címon.
- The Yankee caps don't help.†
When I rented it, I thought it was written and/or directed by Robinson, but itís actually the work of Chad Hartigan, who was born in Cyprus, and who fetishized Katrin a little too much for my comfort level.
The last 15 minutes almost made up for the first 75, but not enough. If you havenít bothered, donít bother.†