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Squeeze

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Squeeze

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Writer-director Robert Patton-Spruill's debut film Squeeze is a coming-of-age drama based on his experiences as a youth counselor in the heart of the ghetto. Its slender, familiar plot concerns a trio of youngsters who form a street gang with the not-very-frightening moniker The PG-13 Posse. The PG-13 Posse finds trouble when it runs afoul of an older, tougher gang, and is forced to look for protection from a sleazy, violent, small-time hustler who soon has its members peddling narcotics. For the most part, Squeeze does a fine job rendering the realities of adolescent lives in America's impoverished inner cities. The problem is that while Patton-Spruill realistically shows teenagers in all their mumbling, moody, passive-aggressive glory, he's never really able to make his protagonists likable or interesting, a problem that only exacerbates the film's clichéd Growin'-Up-In-The-'Hood plot and amateurish acting. His direction is inconsistent as well; long, static scenes of naturalistic drama are frequently interrupted by hyperkinetic blasts of MTV-style camerawork and blaring rap music. While well-intentioned and periodically interesting, Squeeze doesn't have enough going for it to differentiate it from dozens of other earnest but dull 'hood movies.