Spoon (Shakur) and Stretch (Roth) are junkies, and avant-jazz musicians who haven't yet sold their instruments. Their singer Cookie (Newton) ODs at New Year's Eve, remains comatose, and the pair decide to kick there and then - but beurocracy and gansters aren't going to make it easy.
The late Tupac Shakur's cinematic swansong is a gritty urban comedy. Dark in tone but light in spirit, it focuses on the unlikely but ultimately winning combination of Shakur and Roth, adding another impressively convincing American role to his already impressive resume.
Actor Curtis-Hall's debut as a director is fluent and accomplished, boasting solid performances from its two male stars. It's day-in-the-life approach also works well, with the script (also by Curtis-Hall, who plays D-Reper) full of dry, ironic humour, although the dialogue occasionally sounds a touch unauthentic.
The only drawback really is the music. Not the rap-based soundtrack, but the free-form jazz the trio specialise in, which falls on the wrong side of pretentious. Thankfully, there's not too much of it, but sadly there's not much more of Newton, who strangely agreed to do a script that has her go into a coma on page one.
Ultimately too slight, Gridlock'd is nonetheless a sharp movie, albeit one forever tainted by the untimely death of its charismatic lead.