Gridlock'd

* * 1/2*

Gridlock'd is a gritty comedy about bureaucracy and drug addiction. Tupac Shakur stars as Spoon, a heroin addicted bass player who decides to kick the habit after his girlfriend (Thandie Newton) overdoses. He's joined by his wacky friend and fellow addict, Stretch (Tim Roth). Together they enter the bureaucratic nightmare of trying to get into a detox center. On top of those problems, a murderous drug dealer (Vondie Curtis-Hall, who also directed) is after their lives, and they're wanted for questioning by the police for a crime they didn't commit. Tupac Shakur shows that he had some acting talent, and provides Spoon with a calm grace while his world slowly crumbles around him and everything seems to be contriving to keep him where he is. Tim Roth mugs a bit too much, but manages to be entertaining as the lesser-witted Stretch. First time director Vondie Curtis-Hall tries to tackle a bit too much in his debut. The drug dealer subplot should have been played down or eliminated. When dealing with that subplot, Gridlock'd settles down and plays it routinely, a marked contrast to the sharp humor of the governmental bureaucracy and the lengths to which Spoon and Stretch are driven. Still...although it is uneven and could have used a little tuning, Gridlock'd manages to ring true, and has a brutally hilarious scene near its conclusion that's nearly worth the price of admittance alone.

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