Set in Bergen County, New Jersey, Patricia “Patti” Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald) is having a dream that her favorite rapper O-Z (Sahr Ngaujah) is introducing her to a crowd of cheering fans under her moniker “Killa P”. The dream is stopped as Patti’s alarm clock goes off. She goes to wake up her mother Barb (Bridget Everett) but finds her in bed with her lover. Patti and Barb live together with Patti’s Nana (Cathy Moriarty) after Patti’s father walked out on them. The bills for Nana’s medicine have been piling up to the point where legal action is being threatened. As Patti walks down the street and daydreams, she is mocked by a guy who calls her “Dumbo” due to her weight problem.
Patti goes to pick up Nana’s medicine at the pharmacy where she meets her best friend Hareesh, AKA Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay). Like Patti, Jheri wants to get signed to a record label to become rap superstars. They go to a spot overlooking the city where they spit some rhymes that they have come up with. The two then go get pizza. Patti is attracted to the shop owner’s son Danny (McCaul Lombardi). He meets Patti and Jheri around the back to sell them some weed. Danny hands them a flyer for an upcoming rap show that he and his friends will perform at.
Patti later goes to work at Lou’s, a bar full of sleazy jerks. They all know Barb, as she used to be a talented singer. Barb shows up and starts making Patti give her free shots before going up onstage to sing. Barb has a great voice that even Patti admires. Patti later has to hold Barb’s hair as she pukes in the bathroom.
Patti goes to her boss, Lou (John Sharian) at the bar to ask for a raise and more hours. He says he can’t give her that, but he refers her to a friend named Ray (Nick Sandow) who runs a catering business and could use a few extra hands. Patti interviews with Ray, who says he will put her on a list to call when she is needed.
That weekend, Patti and Jheri go to the rap show to see Danny and his friends perform. They witness a solo performer, Basterd The Antichrist (Mamoudou Athie), who performs a hard rock song about how everyone is a sheep. Basterd gets booed off the stage. Patti tries to follow Basterd on his way out and ask him about his music, but he silently rides away on his bike.
After the show, Patti and Jheri find Danny with his boys and some others outside a gas station as they spit some of their rhymes. Jheri gets Patti to start throwing down some of her own bars, which impresses some of the guys. Danny raps rude comments to Patti regarding her appearance and weight, which gets to her. However, Patti comes back with some better bars insinuating to the others that she and Danny hooked up. She humiliates him with a kiss, to which he responds by headbutting her. A cop, Officer Nickel (Wass Stevens), shows up, forcing everyone else to run. Nickel sees that Patti is bleeding, but she won’t give up who attacked her. Nickel sees Patti’s ID and figures she’s Barb’s daughter. He tells Patti to have Barb give him a call.
Patti and Jheri get a gig to record some raps with a group of guys that Jheri knows. Jheri tries to throw down some of the weed he bought from Danny, but the others tell him that he got scammed into buying oregano. Patti smokes some of their weed despite never having smoked previously. She gets too high and starts tripping out, causing her to be unable to perform. Jheri is upset but he drives them home safely.
Barb asks Patti to take Nana out for the day. They go to the cemetery to visit the grave of Nana’s late husband and Patti’s Pop-Pop. Patti spots Basterd crawling around a grave looking for the single blue contact lens that he wears. After finding it, Basterd retreats through a tunnel known as the Gates of Hell. Patti wheels Nana down the tunnel as she calls Jheri to meet them there. Patti comes across Basterd’s secret spot where he records music and beats. Jheri intrudes obnoxiously, and Basterd kicks them out. However, Patti pleads with Basterd to let them record something since they are desperate and want to make music.
Patti Cake$ is a 2017 American drama film directed by Geremy Jasper. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2017. The film received distribution offers from Focus Features, Neon, The Orchard and Annapurna Pictures. However, Fox Searchlight Pictures, acquired distribution rights to the film for $9.5 million, the second largest deal of the festival behind Amazon Studios’ purchase of The Big Sick. It was released on August 18, 2017.
Patti Cake$ (2017)
Directed by: Geremy Jasper
Starring: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Cathy Moriarty, McCaul Lombardi, Patrick Brana, Mackenzie Grace Castle, Alexandra Moruzzi, Ray Iannicelli
Screenplay by: Geremy Jasper
Production Design by: Meredith Lippincott
Cinematography by: Federico Cesca
Film Editing by: Brad Turner
Costume Design by: Miyako Bellizzi
Set Decoration by: Sally Levi
Art Direction by: Heather Yancey
Music by: Jason Binnick, Geremy Jasper
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, crude sexual references, some drug use and a brief nude image.