“In the Heights” wastes its gorgeous score and likable characters on confusing plots and motivations in an odd adaptation of a spectacular musical by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“In the Heights” follows Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who runs a bodega in a gentrifying part of Washington Heights. He dreams of leaving New York behind for the beaches of his childhood memories but slowly realizes the depth of the connections he’s made at home, particularly with Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), the girl he loves. Hope is invigorated in the neighborhood when it’s revealed that Usnavi’s store sold a winning lottery ticket for $96,000, bringing to the forefront the dreams of various residents. Taxi dispatch owner Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Smits) could use the money to pay for his brilliant daughter Nina’s (Leslie Grace) Stanford tuition, while her once and future boyfriend Benny (Corey Hawkins) wants to go to business school to better his prospects.