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Parents' Guide to

Mr. Nice

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Drug dealer biopic has heavy drug use, sex, language.

Movie NR 2011 121 minutes
Mr. Nice Poster Image

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A cult figure in the 1990s and early 2000s, Howard Marks gained notoriety as an affable and highly successful marijuana dealer at a time when the drug was criminalized more widely than it is today. Mr. Nice follows the patter of many dealer biopics, such as Blow, where the protagonist is presented as an opportunist rather than a hardened criminal with no morals. Ifans does a credible job of showing us how Marks moved from one lucrative situation to another, often displaying cunning and cool, detached reasoning to escape capture and bring people into his circle as needed. But the movie suffers from the usual clichés and tropes of its genre. Women characters are largely reduced to sex objects or subservient love interests, and as the net closes around Marks there's never any real sense of drama or danger.

While other drug movies deal in spectacle, most of Mr. Nice takes place over phone calls and in nondescript buildings, even when Marks is dabbling with MI6 agents and members of the IRA. This might make it a more accurate portrayal of what a life of selling marijuana is like, but it doesn't make it a compelling one.

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