Review: ‘How to Make Money Selling Drugs’

A movie that should be banned within 100 yards of a school, "How to Make Money Selling Drugs" is two films: An ironically fashioned edu-doc about the vagaries of dealing dope, dodging cops and maximizing profits; and a righteous screed against the War on Drugs.

A movie that should be banned within 100 yards of a school, “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” is two films: an ironically fashioned edu-doc about the vagaries of dealing dope, dodging cops and maximizing profits; and a righteous screed against the War on Drugs. By being both glib and preachy, this highly stylized pic ends up being a tiresome buzzkill and, despite the imprimatur of producer Adrian Grenier, will probably be consigned to TV, where its chapter-by-chapter structure — and profiles with the American idols of the drug world — will conform comfortably to commercial breaks.

The pic makes a convincing case against the anti-drug campaign that has helped make the United States the most incarcerating country on earth, and includes interviews with several erstwhile drug moguls, whose presence in the film, and the fact they’re at large at all, is never satisfactorily explained. The informational part of the pic — how easy it is to make ridiculous money if you don’t mind being in perpetual danger — is fascinating, even if the presentation is excessively snide. Some judicious trimming, especially toward the end of the film’s War on Drugs diatribe, would be wise.

How to Make Money Selling Drugs

Production

A Bert Marcus Prods. presentation in association with Reckless Prods. (International sales: ICM, Los Angeles.) Produced by Marcus, Adrian Grenier. Co-producer, Robin C. Garvick. Directed by Matthew Cooke.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W), Cooke; editors, Jeff Cowan, Cooke; music, Spencer Nezey; music supervisor, Andy Ross; sound, Gopal Bidari; re-recording mixer, Onnalee Blank; visual effects, Cooke. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival, Sept. 8, 2012. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

50 Cent, Eminem, Susan Sarandon, Woody Harrelson, David Simon, Bobby Carlton, Freeway Rick Ross.

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