Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 2016
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2016 The New York Times Company
Author: Neil Genzlinger


Rolling Papers

It's not exactly "Spotlight," but it is about journalists.

"Rolling Papers," a documentary, chronicles the response of The 
Denver Post to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado: The news 
organization appointed a marijuana editor, Ricardo Baca. The film 
follows him and several of his writers throughout 2014 as they define 
their new beat.

The novelty of watching reporters get high so they can write reviews 
of the newly legal products gets old quickly, but that's really just 
a sideshow in this film by Mitch Dickman. Of more interest are the 
substantive subjects Mr. Baca and his crew look into, like false 
claims by dealers about potency. Especially compelling is the 
phenomenon of parents who bring seriously ill children to Colorado in 
the belief that marijuana is the cure for what ails them.

The film, though, has a maddeningly short attention span, delving 
just far enough into one subject to whet your appetite before 
flitting on to the next. That approach extends to a secondary theme: 
whether the pot beat is just a gimmick, a desperate effort to attract 
attention and readers. That possibility is raised but never really examined.

So the two most likely audiences for this documentary - people 
interested in marijuana and people interested in the news business - 
will probably find it shallower than they'd hoped. It's full of 
discussion points but lets them go by undiscussed.

Rolling Papers

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes
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