The Marijuana Conspiracy Synopsis: In 1972, five young women (Brittany Bristow, Morgan Kohan, Julia Sarah Stone, Tymika Tafari, and Kyla Avril Young) become part of a radical experiment that studies the effects of marijuana on females. Despite the agendas of the government, they use their unique strengths and friendship to overcome adversity.
The Marijuana Conspiracy attempts to unearth a fascinating dissection of 70’s culture, a period where inequitable parties began voicing their spirited independence from the US’ oppressive conformity. Writer/director Craig Pryce certainly has his hands on fascinating subject matter, but most audiences won’t be able to pick that up from the cookie-cutter execution. For a film vying towards substantive goals, The Marijuana Conspiracy plays out like a tired after-school special.
The young cast deserves much of the praise for holding the material together. A luminous quintet of young actors gives each wistful participant much-needed agency and emotionality. Tafari and Sarah Stone are standouts as two of the group’s most vulnerable members while the other supporting players do an able job propping up their roles as smarmy advisors.
Pryce, who’s known as a director-for-hire fixture on the Hallmark scene, imbues the noblest of intentions in his adaptation. His screenplay gives each of the quintet time to breathe onscreen, intelligently connecting their well-versed backgrounds into a myriad of zeitgeist quandaries (racism, sexism, and homophobia play a crucial role in the character’s involvement). One could see how these sentiments connect into our modern times considering the inequity and overt drug criminalization lingering today
Good intentions don’t exactly generate a good movie, with The Marijuana Conspiracy standing as a familiar example of ambitions outstretching a filmmaker’s reach. Pryce seems over his head with the material’s weightier conceits, relying upon overworked dialogue exchanges and saccharine score choices to summarize his central points. The lack of general artistry minimizes what Pryce is trying to say with his characters and their burdens. Hokey, sitcom-esque visuals never allow audiences to invest too deeply into the film’s melody of intimate frames.
I don’t know if The Marijuana Conspiracy knows exactly what it wants to be. Pryce centers on the story’s female camaraderie over the nefarious backstory behind the experiment’s origins, a decision that robs the narrative of its unique perspective and edge. The film’s favoring of coming-of-age contrivances doesn’t help the ensemble approach either. Pryce’s heavy-handed character building never matches the cast’s bright talents.
Stoners are sure to search for engaging content on 4/20, but The Marijuana Conspiracy‘s so-so delivery lands like a haze of foreboding familiarity.
Samuel Goldwyn Films will release THE MARIJUANA CONSPIRACY On Demand and Digital on April 20, 2021.
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