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Variety calls this debut feature by Brooklyn filmmaker Shaka King an “alternately romantic, comedic and melancholy look at barely functioning dopeheads.” The story of a hip young couple trying to keep their lives and relationship together while sharing a voracious appetite for cannabis, NEWLYWEEDS feels like no other stoner comedy. Set in Bed-Stuy, the film follows Lyle (Amari Cheatom) as he spends days reclaiming property for Manny’s Rent-to-Own, and nights with Nina (Trae Harris), a tour guide for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Their grass habit stokes an hallucinatory safe zone for them to dream of grander lives, but also provokes a series of wacky mishaps and questionable choices. Neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of marijuana, NEWLYWEEDS plays like a Spike Lee and “Louie” mashup — a subtle, nuanced and often endearingly funny depiction of struggling urban coupledom.

USA • 2013 • 87 MINS. • PHASE 4 FILMS




“The #1 NYC movie this year!” – Spike Lee

“An African-American stoner comedy. (An) indie comedy breakthrough. Profoundly hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, often brilliant and entirely devoid of political piety. It’s hard to overpraise the central coup in NEWLYWEEDS, especially the wonderful Amari Cheatom as Lyle. This is his first major big-screen performance and it won’t be the last…I literally laughed until I cried, and then I was crying… A sophisticated comedy made for grown-ups… a smoky, jazzy, biting and heartfelt… about two young people, one love affair, American life, African-American life, Brooklyn and – oh, yeah – weed.”
– Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
Click here to read the full review.

“Beautifully understated direction.”
– Nick Schager, Village Voice

NEWLYWEEDS is a movie of excellent riffs, understated timing, and memorable performances (Coleman Domingo makes a fabulous spectacle of himself as Nina’s colleague). Each year the New York Film Critics Circle votes a best first film; NEWLYWEEDS is pretty close to first on my list.”
– J. Hoberman,

NEWLYWEEDS, the debut feature of writer-director Shaka King, is many things.  It is an intriguing new take on the stoner comedy, the romantic comedy, and one might even say the black comedy.  It’s also really funny.”
– Zeba Blay, Indiewire / Shadow and Act

“A more mature mixture of marijuana and melodrama.  Alternately romantic, comedic, and melancholy.  (Amari) Cheatom…manages the tricky task of making a forceful impression with a perpetually burnt-out character.  He also creates a lovely, tender chemistry with (Trae) Harris, a performance artist making a propitious screen debut.”
– Geoff Berkshire, Variety

****! [4 STARS!]
“With impressive direction, a heartfelt-but-humorous take on the funny-and-sad things marijuana abuse can do to people, and a rich portrait of a relationship just a few puffs from being all used up, NEWLYWEEDS is a striking debut from a strong talent who can find the true feelings hiding behind bloodshot eyes.”

– James Rocchi, MSN / The Hitlist





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NEWLYWEEDS: Q & A with writer/director Shaka King, producer Gbenga Akinnagbe and actor Hassan Johnson (Recorded September 19, 2013)