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  • Writer's pictureJackie McGriff

What to Watch | "They Cloned Tyrone"


Production still from "They Cloned Tyrone", Teyonah Parris (left), Jamie Foxx (middle), and John Boyega (right)
Still from the film, "They Cloned Tyrone", Teyonah Parris (left), Jamie Foxx (middle), and John Boyega (right)

As "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" continue to make headlines with their earnings at the box office, we need to talk about They Cloned Tyrone. It was released in the US on Netflix on Friday, July 21. Directed by Juel Taylor, They Cloned Tyrone stars John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, and Jamie Foxx in a sci-fi mystery that I cannot stop thinking about. Knowing that it was coming out being the Boyega fan that I am, I was stuck between going to see Shakespeare in the Park (Highland Bowl) that night and staying in to watch this film. After realizing just how tired my body actually was, I decided on the latter and I'm SO happy that I did. Though to be honest, I'd probably watched it after venturing out to see a play because that's the kind of dedication that I have.


But I digress... After watching the trailer a few times, I had no idea what to expect other than knowing deep down that it was going to be WILD. And this film was exactly that. Let's talk about the storyline first and then I'll get to the acting because with these three it goes without saying but I still need to say SOMETHING because WOW. Onto the storyline. The basic plot synopsis (without spoiling anything) is that an unlikely team (a drug dealer, pimp, and sex worker) lead their own investigation into a government conspiracy after an incident proves that more than one Fontaine exists.


It leads them down a number of roads and incidents that are as funny as they are serious - all with a deeper meaning (or a few) that you will pick up on a quarter way through the film. Teyonah Parris (Wandavision, The Marvels) shines in her role as Yo-Yo, the quick-witted, Nancy Drew fan. While all of them are incredibly smart individuals, she's clearly the glue that not only holds the group together, but who's driving force behind their mission. Parris along with Foxx are absolutely hilarious in this film. There's a moment in an elevator that I need the blooper reel for IMMEDIATELY because how Boyega held it together in that scene is BEYOND me. Foxx, as always, proves that he's an incredible actor in both his comedic timing and in the more dramatic, intense moments of the film. Throughout the film, I couldn't help but be reminded of Boyega's first breakout role as Moses in Attack the Block. His performance in this film felt like a return to this roots - an individual in a lower socioeconomic status who ends up becoming the hero despite what anyone -- including us as the audience -- might label him otherwise because of this and how he goes about his day. In an effort not to spoil the movie for you, Boyega shows more of his range as well in this one with playing multiple clones (and that is all I'm going to say about that). Screenwriters Juel Taylor and Tony Rettenmaier bring us a multi-layered mystery with both science fiction and comedic moments that had me laughing until I couldn't breathe (of course, this paired with our onscreen talents), but also with themes that I'm still thinking through. I believe the greatest films that I've seen are able to execute a character-driven plot with underlying relevant themes and They Cloned Tyrone does that masterfully. About 20 minutes into the film, I was also worried about our protagonists being caricatures, as so many who are in similar situations to them are often portrayed, and they never feel like it. (At least, not to me.) I cannot WAIT to see what's next for Juel Taylor. I loved this film and I highly recommend that you watch the film this week. If you watched this film and would like to share your thoughts, I'd love to hear them! Leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought about They Cloned Tyrone!

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