Missed opportunities (spoilers!)
I was hoping for an edgy comedy examining race and class in America. I did not find it here.
There are some moments where I felt that they began talking about race or sexuality or drug use but then backed away. For example, Dom (drug dealer character) begins talking about Obama's use of drones in the Middle East and the potential for them to be used in the US, specifically against African Americans. An important conversation could have been had here but it is quickly deflected and we have a shootout.
The Harvard-educated businessowner owns a payday loan business (notoriously exploitive) and is dealing drugs, clearly another opportunity to critique the values of Ivy League institutions and their graduates or take an uncomfortable look at what the experience of attending one of these institutions is like for someone from a lower class family. The lead character still wants to attend Harvard but frankly after his experience with this alum, we have to ask why. And why isn't he asking this question of himself?
But this film does not want to make anyone uncomfortable, and no one was in our theater. "Dear White People" had the audience feeling far less safe when confronting attitudes about race and sexuality.
On the upside, if you want a lighthearted comedy with some good '90s hiphop, you will enjoy this film.