Opening

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82% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
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Paid in Full

Paid in Full (2002)

tomatometer

51

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 20

Though well-acted and non-exploitative, Paid in Full treads a very well-worn story.

47

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 10

Though well-acted and non-exploitative, Paid in Full treads a very well-worn story.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 20,136

My Rating

Movie Info

Paid in Full marks the feature debut of director Charles Stone III, who rose to fame after creating Budweiser's "Wassup" commercials. The urban gangster drama is loosely based on the true story of 1980s Harlem drug kingpins AZ, Rich Porter, and Alpo. (This story was also the basis for a documentary, Game Over (Part 1).) Ace (Wood Harris) works at a laundromat, struggling to get by, while his friend Mitch (Mekhi Phifer) lives the high life selling heroin. His sister's boyfriend, Calvin (Kevin

Apr 8, 2003

$3.0M

Dimension Films

Watch It Now

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (20) | DVD (5)

I'm going to give it a marginal thumbs up. I liked it just enough.

October 29, 2002 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This familiar rise-and-fall tale is long on glamour and short on larger moralistic consequences, though it's told with sharp ears and eyes for the tenor of the times.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Needed a little less bling-bling and a lot more romance.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Comments (2)
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rings true, from the smooth dialogue to the unaffected performances of the central actors.

October 25, 2002
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A fake street drama that keeps telling you things instead of showing them.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Comments (2)
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Harris and Phifer's chemistry lends the inevitable tragedies some genuine punch.

January 27, 2009 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

"Paid In Full" is not the kind of movie that George W. Bush will ever see.

November 21, 2005
ColeSmithey.com

Stone seems to have a knack for wrapping the theater in a cold blanket of urban desperation.

November 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

For a rapsploitation film to target and frown upon the darker forces of its nature is certainly a good sign for the maturation of the genre.

November 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Very familiar, yes, but a stylish and above all well-acted tale of friendships gone sour and the inevitable steep price of crime -- a much better movie than it's ever going to get credit for.

October 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today
Entertainment Today

The story is familiar from its many predecessors; like them, it eventually culminates in the not-exactly -stunning insight that crime doesn't pay.

October 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

This is a heartfelt mea culpa -- which gives Paid in Full much of its unexpected emotional power.

October 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

If you saw it on TV, you'd probably turn it off, convinced that you had already seen that movie.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

If there's a way to effectively teach kids about the dangers of drugs, I think it's in projects like the (unfortunately R-rated) Paid.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Harris is supposed to be the star of the story, but comes across as pretty dull and wooden.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

A standard, run-of-the-mill drug drama.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: Screen It!
Screen It!

Bottom-rung New Jack City wannabe.

October 25, 2002
Reel.com

Harsh 'hood reality and good acting? Now that's quite a score.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

Audience Reviews for Paid in Full

Paid in Full has a gritty realistic quality that is excellent in its' world building. It's well acted by largely unknowns, and succeeds in painting a real picture of Harlem without making it glamorous. The pacing, however is uneven, with the film seemingly dragging at points. More time should also have been devoted to fleshing out some of the characters. Still, its realism reminded me of The Wire, the greatest crime show ever.
July 10, 2011
Jeffrey Meyers

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