It’s Got Bars
Think about the best yo mama joke you’ve ever heard. Now think about your favorite diss track. Bodied steps correct and has dozens of verbal takedowns that will erase all those weaponized words from your memory.
As director Joseph Kahn and cast have been pointing out out, Bodied is the world’s first real look into battle rap, some 16 years after 8 Mile gave us just a glimpse. But rest assured, this is no self-serious autobiographical underdog tale. Though notably executive produced by Eminem, this film couldn’t be more different than 8 Mile, despite also following the aspirations of a young white man in the ethnic-minority-dominated rap game.
Bodied takes its cues from outspoken Kahn and the lyrical prowess of Alex Larsen (the battle rap scene’s Kid Twist), who wrote the film. It’s rude, clever, self-aware and hilarious–all the things you want to see from a battle rapper, and, in effect, all the things you want from a film about the subject.
BODIED ★★★★ (4/5 stars)
Directed by: Joseph Kahn
Written by: Alex Larsen
Starring: Calum Worthy, Jackie Long, Rory Uphold, Shoniqua Shandai, Dumbfoundead, and Dizaster
Running time: 120 min.
Adam (Disney’s Calum Worthy) is an English lit major at UC Berkley who’s fascinated with battle rap to the point that he’s decided to write his thesis on the versatile use of the n-word in the competitive scene. He tries to make some inroads with his favorite rapper Behn Grymm (Jackie Long) for an ongoing interview, but reveals himself to be so knowledgeable on the subject that he earns a tryout in an impromptu battle. He, of course, wins.
What happens next what makes Bodied special. Adam’s interloping opens up a full discourse about everything from cultural appropriation and acceptable language to the dangers of outrage culture and the hypocrisies of wokeness.
Bodied is at its best when it’s lobbing grenades in the form of societal conundrums. In the context of competitive wordplay, is it OK to utilize stereotypes if everyone’s in on the joke and the playing field is level? Are we cannibalizing our own good intentions and those of others with strict word-policing?
Don’t worry. The film doesn’t feel like a Facebook debate, and it doesn’t claim to have the answers. Instead it’s relentlessly funny and lyrically immaculate. Blink and you’ll miss a devastating diss. I know blinking doesn’t affect your hearing. Come at me.
Grab your wokest friends and see this one with a big crowd. I’d say take yo mama too but they banned her from the theater because people thought her ass was the screen.