Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph Kahn|
|Screenplay by||Alex Larsen|
|Edited by||Chancler Haynes|
|Budget||< $15 million|
Bodied is a 2017 American battle rap comedy-drama film directed by Joseph Kahn. It was written by Alex Larsen and produced by Eminem, his manager Paul Rosenberg, and Adi Shankar. The movie first premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. The film stars Calum Worthy as Adam, a graduate student who becomes a competitive battle rapper after becoming immersed in the scene while working on his graduate thesis on the subject.
At the Toronto International Film Festival, the film won the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award: Midnight Madness. It also won Fantastic Fest's 2017 Audience Award. In January 2018, YouTube Red announced it had acquired exclusive streaming rights, with a limited theaterical release beginning on November 2, 2018.
Adam Merkin, a white graduate student at Berkeley, is writing a thesis on the use of the word "nigga" in battle rap. To research, he attends a freestyle rap battle between rappers X-Tract and Behn Grymm, and brings his girlfriend Maya along; Maya is offended by the sexism she perceives in the lyrics used in the battle. Adam attempts to interview Grymm and is made fun of for his rhetoric. In the parking lot outside the event, Grymm is called out by young white rapper Billy Pistolz, but Adam steps in and delivers a freestyle verse accusing Pistolz of cultural appropriation. An impressed Grymm agrees to speak with Adam further.
Adam's father, Professor Merkin, is a best-selling author and professor at Berkeley. When Adam runs the idea of his thesis by his father he is met with more ridicule. Adam is contacted by battle promoter Donnie Narco and offered a spot in a battle for newcomers against Korean rapper Prospek, and he accepts. At the battle, Adam attempts to perform joke lines, but doesn't get the reaction he hoped for; he falls back on Asian jokes, winning over the crowd and taking the battle. Adam also meets rappers Che Corleone, Devine Write, and Megaton, who is known for his aggressive persona.
At a vegan restaurant, Adam attempts to convince the disapproving Maya that it's okay for him to keep battling, but insults both her and a waitress in rhyme, angering her and getting himself ejected from the restaurant. Maya later leaves Adam after his rapper friends offend her. After an event where Adam, Che, Devine, and Grymm all win their battles, they attend a house party hosted by Megaton, where Che has sex with Megaton's girlfriend, porn star Bella Backwoods. An enraged Megaton challenges Che to a battle in the coming days.
Adam tries to stay with Grymm, who reveals his true nature: he is a video game designer with a wife and a child with cystic fibrosis. He states that he doesn't reveal these because he doesn't want people to use personal insults against him, and as such, never uses personal insults himself. Grymm allows Adam to stay at his house, but his wife insults Adam for appropriating black culture and refuses to let him stay. Adam is contacted by another promoter, offering him the chance to battle Grymm for $5,000 at the same event as Megaton and Che's battle, but he turns it down, stating that battle rap has ruined his life. A video of Adam's battle with Prospek is posted online, turning the student body of Berkeley against him and further cementing Maya's hatred for him. His father disowns him and the dean of the school suspends his scholarship. Left with no other choice, Adam calls the promoter and accepts the battle.
At the event, Adam and Grymm go head to head. Adam betrays his friend to win by revealing to the crowd that Grymm is a game designer, insulting his wife, and poking fun at Grymm's daughter's cystic fibrosis. While enraged during the fight, Adam gets angry at two other rappers who are talking during the fight, and he and Grymm perform an impromptu tag-team battle against them. Afterwards, Grymm informs Adam that they are no longer friends, and he is giving up rap to be with his family. Adam attempts to call Maya and ask her to marry him, but she refuses to speak to him.
Megaton "bodies" Che during their battle, even bringing his girlfriend out to freestyle about how bad he is at sex. Afterwards, Megaton starts insulting the crowd, daring anyone to challenge him. Adam, left with nothing else, steps into the ring and takes on Megaton, who hits him in the face during his verse. Unfazed, Adam gets back on his feet and calls Megaton out for putting on an aggressive act; Megaton concedes the battle to a triumphant Adam. Afterwards, Adam, now sleeping on a park bench on the Berkeley campus, watches a video on his phone and says he's decided what his rap name is, but the film cuts to credits before he can say.
- Calum Worthy as Adam Merkin, a progressive graduate student who develops a passion for battle rapping while researching the scene for his thesis paper
- Jackie Long as Behn Grymm, a veteran battle rapper, and Adam's mentor in navigating the world of battle rapping
- Rory Uphold as Maya, Adam's girlfriend
- Dumbfoundead as Prospek, a Korean-American battle rapper, and one of Adam's first opponents
- Walter Perez as Che Corleone
- Shoniqua Shandai as Devine Write
- Charlamagne tha God as Hunnid Gramz, a battle rap promoter
- Dizaster as Megaton, a battle rapper with a loud, aggressive, and in-your-face battling style, and the movie's villain
- Loaded Lux as Bluntz
- Hollow da Don as 40 MAG
- Debra Wilson as Dean Hampton
- Anthony Michael Hall as Professor Merkin, Adam's father, a professor at the college Adam attends
- Daniel Rashid as MC Goggles
- Simon Rex as Donnie Narco, a battle rap promoter & host with an outlandish personality. According to Ultimate Rap League promoter Street Star Norbes, Rex's character is modeled after real-life battle rap promoter/host Nick "Lush One" Hyams.
- Corey Charron as Billy Pistolz
- Big T as X-Tract
- Daylyt as Big Zee
- Candice Renee as Jas
- Tony ‘Madness’ Gomez as Choke Artist
- Rone as Groom
- Pat Stay as Racist Battler
- Conceited as Comedian
- Vivian Lamolli as Bella Backwoods
- Lisa Maley as Becky
- Eddie Perino as Jon
- Eric Allen Smith as Robert
- Adi Shankar as Campus Security Guard With Turban
- Andy Milonakis as Freddie Hustle
The film also includes cameo appearances by real-life battle rap personalities The Saurus, Illmaculate, Nocando, Arsonal, Conceited, Rone, Philly Swain, Head ICE, Iron Solomon, Lush One, Poison Pen, Ultimate Rap League founder Troy "Smack White" Mitchell, Norbes, Pat Stay, King of the Dot founder Organik, Aktive, Dre Vishiss, poker legend Daniel Negreanu, and actors Yoshio Iizuka, Sloane Avery and Becky Wu.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 67 reviews, and an average IMDB rating of 7.2/10. The website's critical consensus states, "With its thorny themes and aggressive humor, Bodied dares to offend - and justifies its approach with a subversive comedy that edifies as it entertains." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Brian Tallerico, writing for RogerEbert.com, said that the movie "offers an entertaining window into a culture that most people probably know very little about, but it's also a clever take on a generation more aware of what's offensive and what's not than any before". Barry Hertz of The Globe and Mail called the movie "an outrageous and outrageously entertaining treatise on cultural sensitivity".
- "Exclusive: Joseph Kahn's 'Bodied' to Hit Theaters in November Thanks to NEON". 10 August 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (17 January 2018). "YouTube Red Acquires 'Bodied' Battle-Rap Parody Film From Eminem, Joseph Kahn".
- "Toronto Film Review: 'Bodied'". Variety, September 8, 2017.
- "Bodied (2018)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
- "‘Bodied’ Review: Eminem-Produced Satire Is the Most Subversive Hip-Hop Movie Ever — TIFF". Indiewire, September 8, 2017.
- "Toronto: 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Captures Audience Award". The Hollywood Reporter, September 17, 2017.
- Spangler, Todd. "YouTube Red Acquires ‘Bodied’ Battle-Rap Parody Film From Eminem, Joseph Kahn", Variety, Los Angeles, 17 January 2018. Retrieved on 08 April 2018.
- "Voice of battle rap on Twitter".
- "Bodied (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
- "Bodied Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
- Tallerico, Brian. "TIFF 2017: Midnight Madness, Part One - Festivals & Awards - Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com.
- "The Globe's guide to TIFF 2017 movies". 1 September 2017.