MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3

Tupac Shakur, the popular African-American rap music star gunned down in September, plays Spoon, a drug-addicted musician in Detroit. The film opens in a slum apartment on New Year's Eve, where Spoon, Stretch (Tim Roth) and singer Cookie (Thandie Newton) have rung in the New Year with drugs. Cookie has overdosed and seems near death. The reality of their lifestyle prompts Spoon to announce he's going to get help for his deadly habit. Stretch, a neurotic eccentric, reluctantly agrees to go with Spoon. What follows is a frantic race from one bureaucratic government office to another as the two try to get in a rehab program. Spoon and Stretch engage in some very creative and often hilarious attempts to outsmart the red tape strangling their efforts to plug into the welfare system. This comic relief and Tupac's music lighten up the sleazy setting and depressing theme, making Gridlock'd almost a treat instead of a treatment.

Fortunately the powerful anti-drug message paints a grim picture of the serious consequences of drug addiction and the difficulty of overcoming it. Scenes of injecting drugs with hypodermic needles, Cookie's limp body being dragged through the streets, and sleazy drug dealers stalking users are not pleasant, but not gratuitous. When other attempts for help fail, Spoon insists that Stretch stab him several times with a pocket knife so he can be admitted to a hospital. A bloody view of a fellow addict shot by a dealer and some police chases with gunfire exchanged underline the dangers in an addict's life. But viewers' senses are assaulted by a barrage of 245 obscenities, and almost every sentence has an f-word. Although Spoon, Cookie and Stretch share an apartment, their relationship appears to be platonic. Female breast nudity is shown once, but there are no sex scenes. Stretch admits to Spoon that he's HIV positive, but that he was very careful to not share needles. Also, Cookie and her two male roommates share the bathroom in a pointless, crude scene. Incessant and disgusting obscenities and crudities bury the film's worthwhile negative depiction of the drug scene.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Gramercy Pictures, 9247 Alden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (24) times - Mild 6, Moderate 18

Obscene Language: Continuous (245) times - f-word 192, s-word 48, other 5

Profanity: Few (2) times - Regular 1 (G-d), Exclamatory 1

Violence: Few times - Moderate and Severe (man's bloody body, woman almost dies from drug overdose, police chase with gunfire, man stabs friend with pocketknife, man wrecks waiting room with bat, apartment destroyed, dogs terrorize group of people)

Sex: None

Nudity: Once (brief breast nudity); near nudity twice (woman in underwear, woman in bathtub)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (friends discussing male anatomy in crude terms)

Drugs: Several times (addicts injecting drugs in veins)

Other: Several racial slurs, men share bathroom with woman

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Young adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.