Joel Winstead’s review published on Letterboxd:
When this movie started, and every stereotype was thrown in front of me, I hated it. Hated. It. It felt forced. This isn’t even Don Shirley’s movie, it’s Tony Lips. Yes it deals with race but the white guy is the fucking hero, huh? In my opinion there are two far superior movies that deal with race and cultural issues (Blackkklansman & Blindspotting). I think the issue is it was from the white guys point of view and it wasn’t nearly gritty enough, there is earnestness behind this, but it’s more of a crowd pleaser then an indictment on current political and racial problems. This is the “Kumbaya” of race movies.
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about the feel good movie of the year. Mahershala Ali is brilliant, I can’t say enough how much I love him in this and after about 30 minutes of Viggo’s cheesy Italian one liners you start to love him. The on screen chemistry is perfect and we wouldn’t have this great of a movie without those guys acting each other out of the room. They deserve the recognition for their roles that is coming thier way. I can get the two star rating on this, I really can, hell I wanted to give it two stars but it would be a disservice to a well made movie that was beautifully acted. It was human, if maybe a little too glossy.