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With a dominant Black cast, ‘hood plot plays just right for holidays
The rain and the cooling night temperatures could not dampen the warming spirit of a ‘Christmas in Compton’, which premiered with its lead cast and characters at the Rave theater in Baldwin Hills last Thursday.
Starring Keith David as ‘Big Earl’ and the father of Omar Gooding (Derrick) an aspiring record producer in Compton the plot begins on a snow capped highway, but twist and turns to a happy conclusion on Christmas day in a joy for noise lot of Christmas Trees.
David is fantastic as a Compton elder at the community day care center who wants five and six year olds prepared for college early and single father of Derrick who is miffed that his son following a dream going sour.
‘Big Earl’ subsequently softens and signs over his treasured tree lot to Derrick as an indication of trust his son has longed for, but while pursuing the footsteps of Compton icons ‘Dr. Dre’ and ‘Eazey E’, Derrick confirms his father’s utter disappointment.
Derrick has a deal cut with nefarious record exec Tommy Maxwell (played by veteran Eric Roberts) that he anticipates a $300k payday, but when he arrives to collect the check is for a meager $30k instead.
Thus the speed of the plot quickens and thickens as well to include the crew working at the tree lot with characters play by Charles Kim, Jayda Brown, Arif S. Kinchen and Kwanza queen Sheryl Lee Ralph.
If you didn’t have your popcorn and soda by this point you may as well forget it because this is when ‘Christmas in Compton’ transforms from being a nice small budget film to that that could have lasting appeal.
Maxwell not only refuses to pay the money Derrick is owed, but now threatens to take his lone act, a trio of sweet singing sisters called ‘Sugar Stuff’ as well.
While enticing the trio to come and join his record stable, Maxwell shows off a precious yellow diamond ring that he purchased for his wife that is valued at roughly the $300k that Derrick is seeking.
Derrick disguises himself as an exterminator and gets into Maxwell’s home and sprays both the husband and wife and struggles to slip off the yellow diamond ring that he will soon seek to sell.