Friday, June 13, 2008

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Martin Lawrence Comedy Vehicle Comes to DVD

Self-help guru Dr. RJ Stevens (Martin Lawrence) is not only the host of a popular TV talk show but he’s also the best selling author of “The Team of Me,” a book which shares his “winning by any means necessary” philosophy. It’s no surprise that success has gone to his head, given that he’s engaged to beautiful Bianca (Joy Bryant), a recent winner of the television reality-series Survivor.

Now, the shallow superstar is about to be cut down to size when he returns to his rural hometown of Dry Springs, Georgia for the first time in nine years. The occasion is a family reunion revolving around a celebration of his parents’ (James Earl Jones and Margaret Avery) 50th anniversary.

RJ boards the plane, accompanied by his 10 year-old son, Jamaal (Damani Roberts), his, spoiled-rotten fiancĂ©e and her lap dog, Fifi, determined to show his relatives that he’s no longer the wimpy loser who never got any respect as a kid. Before they even arrive, however, we get a clue that the bulk of the jokes in this fish-out-of-water comedy will come at the expense of this returning Prodigal Son, when Bianca’s precious, pampered Pomeranian spills beet juice all over his lap.

In fact, this is just the first of several indignities he suffers on account of critters, for RJ also meets his match during encounters with a skunk, a snake and Bucky, a big mutt in heat. Unfortunately, as flat as the animal slapstick falls, those exchanges are still more amusing than any between our humbled hero and members of his dysfunctional family.

For, he hails from an African-American version of Southern white trash, a motley crew of backwards rubes who don’t take kindly to their kin’s recently-acquired, high-falutin’ airs. Brace yourself for lowbrow dialogue like, “I’m gonna slap the black off you,” “Faster than a runaway slave,” “Heifer, I’m gonna cut you up,” and “B*tch ain’t got no class!”

Not even a soulful soliloquy before the closing credits about the importance of family could undo the damage already done by this otherwise impressively pointless minstrel show.

Fair (1 star)

Rated PG-13 for profanity, ethnic slurs, crude humor, sexual content and drug references.

Running time: 114 minutes

Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: Interviews with writer/director Malcolm Lee, the producers and actors Martin Lawrence, Mike Epps, James Earl Jones, Cedric the Entertainer and Mo’Nique, 45 minutes of outtakes and deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a music video, director’s commentary, plus a couple of other featurettes.

To see a trailer of the film, visit:

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