Jamila Gray Shines as an Aspiring Rapper in this Ambling Adaptation on 'On the Come Up'

Jamila Gray Shines as an Aspiring Rapper in this Ambling Adaptation on 'On the Come Up' ...

Sanaa Lathans on the Come Up is a familiar underdog story that is made compelling by the tenacity with which it approaches its subject. It is best suited as a professional picture debut for Jamila Gray, who is following her father into filmmaking success.

Bri is slammed down by the on-site officer and smeared as somehow responsible for what happened to her in the fictional city of Garden Heights. After finding some minor early successes, she will then have to face the challenges that come with her newfound fame.

On the Come Up, the greatest flaw is how it becomes far too simplistic, both in the narrative itself and its presentation. Instead, we cycle through a handful of locations that all feel too confined. Unfortunately, this sells them and the film itself short as it preemptively confines itself when it doesn't need to.

Bri decides to break away from Aunt Pooh because to a previously friendly connection. In just a few scenes, Bri completely disappears from the film, before returning when it is time to escalate a conflict.

Bri is whisked away to the big screen, abruptly thrown into a world that will contain its own set of plots that also dont get fully excavated. All of it passes as quickly as it begins to take shape. It all feels as though it is just going through the motions at a rapid-fire pace without ever taking the time to breathe deeply.

On the Come Up, it's difficult to dismiss completely given how dedicated she is to this character. A few quieter character scenes towards the end help her to breathe new life into the film. Each of them is more harrowing for how patient they are. The other is built around a haphazard plot that threatens to overshadow the others.

C+ rating

On the Come Up is now available in theaters and on Paramount+.