Review: 'Newlyweeds'

’What the fuck is a vaporizer?’ Amari Cheatum as Lyle asks in ’Newlyweeds,’ then takes a big Volcano hit.

A blend between Weeds and The Newlywed Game? Hardly. Shaka King's debut feature film Newlyweeds is s tough look at marijuana's role in a fledgling relationship.

Lyle (Amari Cheatum) and Nina (Tae Harris) are lovers who live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of Brooklyn's roughest slums. Lyle repossesses appliances and furniture with his low-life work partner (Tone Tank). Nina teaches. They both smoke pot and often are scraping the bowl for their next bong hit.

’Newlyweeds’ is Shaka King’s debut film.

While Nina comes from the tony brownstone section of the 'hood, Lyle's more of street dude who has some growing up to do. They dream of going away together, but both get into trouble with the law. Will their dream go up in smoke?

Jealous of one of Nina's co-workers, Lyle insults him and then goes on a bender, which includes him trying a vaporizer for the first time (see above).

When Nina brings pot brownies to work and some of the kids jack her bag and stuff their faces, she gets into major trouble. This all adds up to Lyle and Nina having to dig out of a big mess.

King's stoner movie owes a lot to Spike Lee, who first championed Brooklyn in 1986 with She's Gotta Have It. His rookie cast shines. Cheatum, who had a small part in Django Unchained, has a deep voice reminiscent of Gill Scott Heron's. His portrayal of a stoner in a downward spiral is riveting. Harris' equally convincing as the girlfriend who's had enough.

Independent and spirited, Newlyweeds poses provocative questions about marijuana without blaming all the characters' problems on the "evil weed."

Newlyweeds is currently playing at the Film Forum in New York, and the Crensahaw 15 and Rave 18 in Los Angeles.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.