While Matthew McConaughey keeps the film entertaining, don’t expect to hear any more about “White Boy Rick” come Oscar season.
The new film “White Boy Rick” tells the tale of young Rick Wershe Jr.s’ troubled upbringing and rise to the status of drug kingpin, all occurring before his 16th birthday. When I first saw the trailer for this movie a few months ago, my interest was sparked. The 1980s Detroit setting, cool music and McConaughey’s mullet, all instantly made me want to see the movie. While the movie does have all of that, it features few other things that make it stand out. As is the crux with so many biopics, the movie’s biggest issue falls on its structure and pacing. Much of the film’s finest moments come when it is showcasing the relationship between Richard Wershe Sr. (played by McConaughey) and Junior (played by newcomer Richie Merritt). There seems to be, however, very few of those moments. The movie contains some strong performances, but nothing that will garner Oscar attention. To be clear, by no stretch of the imagination is “White Boy Rick” a bad film. It just does not stand out among other entries in the American greed and controversy period piece genre that includes the likes of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “American Made,” and “Detroit.”
In a different world, if the film was more consistent with its pacing and didn’t seem to be trying to make you feel bad for the impoverished people of 1980s Detroit, then perhaps it would leave more of an impression among viewers. If you’re a big fan of McConaughey or if you have been craving a trip to the theater, then “White Boy Rick” can provide you with your fix. But if not, then you will be fine waiting until it hits Redbox or streaming platforms.
Jacob Hales, Writer