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Parents' Guide to

Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Music docu has language, drugs, some positive messages.

Movie NR 2017 80 minutes
Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story Movie Poster

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Never has vulnerability looked so scripted. Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story feels less like the music documentary it should've been and more like an overproduced and overstylized propaganda film. The overuse of black-and-white film for much of the movie gives it the look and style of a dated Calvin Klein commercial circa 1992. There's nothing particularly revelatory about it, and it doesn't take an intuitive genius to get the powerful sense that there's nothing shown here that Combs doesn't want the viewer to see, even with visits to the doctor concerning a pulled muscle or "fly on the wall" shots of performers having candid conversations about life and the passing of time. All the proof you need concerning this is revealed when the viewer is given next to nothing of the first night of the Barclay Center concert, a concert Combs tells the viewers was one of his worst.

Seriously, this documentary has all the warmth and spontaneity of a tax audit. The movie is at its best when it shows some of the real and lasting victories Combs helped to make happen in the music industry -- as much on the music charts as behind the scenes, as people of color are shown attaining massive success in what had previously been White-dominated careers. Hopefully these very real highlights of success don't get overwhelmed by the overproduction, because aside from these positives, there isn't a whole lot to learn that fans don't already know. There's not much depth or honesty, as the camera's presence is so obvious, and it's less a music documentary and more like a "reality show" with forced edits and multiple takes.

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