Sunday, February 9, 2014
WELCOME HOME ROSCOE JENKINS (2006)
Written & Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee
Cinematography By: Greg Gardiner
Editor: George Bowers & Paul Millspaugh
Cast: Martin Lawrence, Joy Bryant, Michael Clarke Duncan, Nicole Ari Parker, James Earl Jones, Margaret Avery, Mo’Nique, Mike Epps, Cedric The Entertainer, Louis C.K.
A successful talk show host leaves Los Angeles to reunite with his family in the Deep South.
This film is a mixed bag. I appreciate a film that let's you know what type of film you are watching from the get go, but this film shifts so much. It's hard to get a register on exactly hat type of film you are watching. For instance when you see a film starring will Ferrell or Adam Sandler you know you are getting a sophomoric comedy with a certain tone. When you watch a woody Allen film you know you are getting a sophisticated comedy that could double as a drama usually. Here what starts out as a family comedy turns at times into an r rated comedy who language and adult material. That makes me wonder is it an adult comedy that just happens to involve kids and family? It also turns from comedy Into a sophomoric exaggerated comedy. Before having heartwarming family scenes and moments again. So it seems like a movie in disguise a hard r disguised as a fun family film.
Now we are supposed to believe that Roscoe is this irredeemable cad who only cares about money and fame. Who almost completely disowns his family. I can see why he would to a degree except for his parents. They treat him poorly and miserably and it seems it has been that way for most of his life.
The main theme seems to be you can't help who your family is, so develop a thick skin and embrace them. For a film that has so many comedians and comedic actors the film should be funnier then it ends up being.
It helps that the film is pretty much an all star comedy with recognizable African American stars and actors.
It is nice to see a African American film embrace the importance of family and none of it's members being too much of a negative stereotype And while some of the characterizations are a bit over the top. At least it's not that way the whole movie they are reigned in as everything generally is In the third act.
The film is funny and entertaining, just not for all ages and with Martin Lawrence and Mo’Nique in the same film, it should be funnier. As he I funny not only with jokes but also with physical humor.
I just wonder why is this directed by Malcolm D. Lee he is better than the material. He started off strong with THE BEST MAN then made the jump to studio films with UNDERCOVER BROTHER and ROLL BOUNCE both highly enjoyable and fun movies. Then he makes this which seems to be a passionless project. Though this might be he best I what he was offered and at least reinforcing an African American family theme. It's a shame as this film could have been made by anyone like any of the directors of Adam Sandler movies. It's probably to the films benefits that he made it.
Maybe another reason is that, When it comes to Martin Lawrence movies you never know what you are going to get. He makes family oriented comedy and hard R rated films. He seems to ping pong between them very often like Jack Black before he decided to just stay with family films.
Even with the films unevenness. it's still a film that you should check out. It's nowhere near perfection, but it is entertaining.