If you are anything like me, the first time you hear the name of this movie you instantly thought about baking cakes. Then you see how the title is spelled and your eyes roll, as you flash back to rappers with symbols for names. And instead of being a cheesy comedy, “Patti Cake$” is about someone who wants to use music to achieve her dreams. Sure you have heard this story before, but like many before it, there is always a different way to tell it.
Patricia, a.k.a Killa P, a.k.a Patti Cake$ (Danielle Macdonald) is having a tough time at life. Her Nana (Cathy Moriarty) is not doing well and her mother Barb (Bridget Everett) lives her life like a woman in her early twenties. Patricia has to deal with all of that but she does have an escape, her music. Together with her friend Hareesh (Siddharth Dhananjay) they try and chart a course to stardom. Patti though is not taken seriously because of her looks and there is something missing in their quest, someone to supply the beats.
They meet just such a guy in Basterd, a.k.a. Bob (Mamoudou Athie) who marches to his own drummer. Together with a little help from Nana they form PBNJ and put out a mix tape in order to be seen. Things don’t go as planned and just when Patti thinks she has started her climb she instead is taken to her lowest low. It is at a time when things are at there hardest that Patti gets some news that might just take her to the top and proves sometimes you get more than just one shot.
The story of the underdog beating all odds to be successful has been told often. Hell even films where it was hard being a pimp, or a factory worker/rapper overcoming all odds and his mom’s spaghetti has been told. While the message might be the same, the players are what make all the difference. This film is special not because of its message but because of Danielle Macdonald, a.k.a Patti Cake$ performance. Writer/director Geremy Jasper gives Macdonald the chance to shine and does she ever.
“Patti Cake$” will have you bobbing your head and smiling as you watch the story come alive. While it is Macdonald’s show she couldn’t get there without the help with the rest of the cast, who are perfect complimentary pieces to her. This is just a feel good movie and in a world where feel good movies are harder to find this is needed. As a great man once said, “Life moves pretty fast and if you don’t stop and look around once awhile you could miss it” which is just a long way of saying don’t miss this one.