Friday, November 18, 2022

Sugar: Movie Review

A story of stupid criminals on a cruise ship.
Sugar is based on the true story of two Canadian Instagram models/influencers who find themselves as mules in the middle of a cocaine smuggling ring. There’s the obvious potential for a movie right there, and it’s not so much that the movie fails, but that it doesn’t understand its two main protagonists. These are not innocent girls who got caught up in drug smuggling. These are the two most materialistic morons on the planet and they’re not more complicated than that.   2022

Directed by: Vic Sarin

Screenplay by: Ben Johnstone, Annelies Kavan, Vic Sarin

Starring: Katherine McNamara, Jasmine Sky Sarin

Chloe (Katherine McNamara) is Instagram famous and perennially involved with bad people. She makes her living by doing whatever rich men want her to do. Melanie (Jasmine Sky Sarin) is a wannabe Instagram star so she hangs out at clubs hoping to get in with the cool people. We sufficiently get to know these two girls by just the first scene, but the movie really slows things down and starts off on the wrong foot by spending the first half hour introducing these two stupid, stupid girls.

When Melanie meets Chloe and then a sleazy, quasi-club-owner Jules (√Čric Bruneau) who invites them to hang out on a cruise ship for a few weeks and make $50,000 they go “sounds awesome” but instead any reasonable person would go “Umm, no? obviously there’s a catch, and likely an illegal one at that.” These girls are too stupid to realize that no upstanding citizen is offering them $50,000 just to have fun lounging out by a pool on a cruise ship. Well, Chloe has an inkling it might not be on the up-and-up but she lives this kind of life anyways, Melanie doesn’t though.

I liked the cinematography. It does a good job of capturing the more gritty wannabe lifestyle in Montreal, contrasted with the gorgeous upscale scenery of life on a luxury cruise ship, and then once the girls find out, contrast that luxuriousness with an unstable paranoia with no escape from the people who got them into this mess.

The plot also picks up significantly once the girls realize that they’re cocaine mules and keep trying to come up with escape plans. It definitely gets more interesting as it goes along, but the underlying problem remains that these girls are stupid, and I don’t think the movie ever realizes how stupid they are and can’t elevate it into a better story. The only thing it can focus on is the friendship the girls have formed with each other, and that’s not all that satisfying.

Sugar makes good usage of the cruise ship and the different locations they get stopped in: Panama, Lima, and Tahiti. It’s nicely photographed and there is an interesting story, but the beginning is very slow and bloated, and it’s also a story about stupid criminals.