Dave's Rating:

2.0

… the fact that Lawrence is the star is the biggest crack-up here.

Who's in It: Martin Lawrence, James Earl Jones, Margaret Avery, Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, Michael Clarke Duncan, Joy Bryant, Nicole Ari Parker, Mo'Nique

The Basics: Lawrence is a Jerry Springer-style talk-show host, and his model-pretty girlfriend is a recent winner on Survivor. He enjoys a glamorous L.A. lifestyle and seems happy. So when he returns to his Deep South hometown for his parents' anniversary, he learns all sorts of lessons about traditional family values and gets taken down a few pegs. In fact, his family and friends seem openly hostile about his success. And the movie paints them as the ones on God's side. Huh?

What's the Deal? Let's say you internalized the subtext of The Wizard of Oz, and you didn't leave home. You didn't move off to the big city and pursue some big dream. You didn't satisfy your itch to escape. Let's say you stayed put and did what people expected of you and didn't rise too far above your original station. It's fine if you did that. Small towns are nice. Normal, everyday existence is fine. But do you really need mildly amusing comfort films like this to make you feel better about the non-choices you've made? Shouldn't you at least demand that your reactionary movies be funnier?

Funniest Things: Mo'Nique and Epps get all the good lines. But the fact that Lawrence is the star is the biggest crack-up here. Because he's such a humble, simple-life, down-home guy.

Best Part: The scene where Mo'Nique, wearing skin-tight leopard-print spandex, beats Lawrence to a pulp. I'm just glad she got a second chance onscreen to erase the toxic memory of Phat Girlz.

Where You've Seen the Woman Playing Lawrence's Mom Before: That's Margaret Avery. She was Shug in The Color Purple. Just imagine her 20 years younger, making out with Whoopi Goldberg. Now do you recognize her?

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