Skate Kitchen, about a gang of avid skateboarding girls in New York City, gets the moments right but muffs the drama.
The Instagram worthy boarders are just playing milder version of their true selves, which gained attention in the director’s Crystal Moselle documentary short on them, That One Day. The bespectacled founder of Skate Kitchen, Rachelle Vinberg, gets to play the lead and have a platonic romance, with a day glow red haired Jaden Smith, Will Smith’s son.
In the skating scenes the Skate Kitchen crew are fully in the moment in tracking shots that joyfully glide forwards and backwards as the girls ride. The talk between them seems natural and the conflict that develops for skate time between the boys in the park speaks volumes on how they see their place in the world and the world of boys who view them as poseurs. The time when the Skate Kitchen gang finds their own gliding space is the film’s joyous high point.
Outside the park, the girls seem like poseurs on their own life. It is the time they are not being but acting.
Jaden Smith entry forces false drama into their meant to be documentary existence. While Smith does well in the role, the time away from all that wonderful skateboarding seems like a fail before the next big trick.
All photos and videos courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.