Ep. 148 – Bad Boys for Life, Dolittle, VHYes, and the end of the 20th Century Fox name

January 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review “Bad Boys for Life,” “Dolittle,” and “VHYes.”

They also talk Disney’s removal of the Fox branding from 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight.

Click here to download the episode!

Death at a Funeral

April 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan
Directed by: Neil LaBute (“Lakeview Terrace”)
Written by: Dean Craig (“Death at a Funeral,” 2007 version)

If there was even one ounce of cleverness in “Death at a Funeral,” the remake of the 2007 British comedy of the same name and penned by the same screenwriter, there might have been a reason to retell the story for a different demographic that probably missed the original when it hit theaters three years ago. What’s the point, however, when the new version practically matches its predecessor character for character, shot for shot, and line for line? What’s worse than a tiresome re-creation is one with nothing unique to say.

Replacing dry and subtle British humor with broad, overdone jokes, the modernized “Funeral” hopes to rely on its popular cast to shake things up a bit. Chris Rock (“The Longest Yard”) takes the lead as Aaron, the oldest son of the recently deceased Edward (Bob Minor), who is trying to keep his dad’s funeral from falling apart once the oddball mourners start showing up at his mother’s house to pay their respects. This includes his well-known novelist brother Ryan (Martin Lawrence), who walks in unwilling to pitch in for the funeral costs but ready to chase skirt, and other family and friends (Zoe Saldana, James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, Columbus Short, Danny Glover, Luke Wilson) who are able to disrupt the service in their own peculiar way.

Big trouble comes in a small package when a mysterious dwarf named Frank (Peter Dinklage, who reprises the exact role he had in the 2007 film), shows up to the funeral ready to reveal a secret that could cause a lot of pain on an already sorrowful day. To keep the funeral from becoming uncontrollable, the family must find a way to keep Frank quiet just long enough to survive a few prayers and a eulogy.

But with characters running around hopped up on hallucinogens, a mother complaining that she doesn’t have any grandchildren, and an irate uncle with some bowel issues, it won’t be easy for Aaron to keep everything moving smoothly. Director Neil LaBute (“Lakeview Terrace”) has the same problem as his actors seem to be reading their dialogue off a teleprompt and lazily going through the motions of a mediocre slapstick comedy.

With “Funeral” coming as close as possible to plagiarizing itself, there is one distinct difference between the two films other than the characters’ skin color. This new version is much more exhausting to sit through. Sure, funerals aren’t supposed to be much fun, but “Death at a Funeral” gives new meaning to dead on arrival.

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins

February 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Cedric the Entertainer, James Earl Jones
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee (“Roll Bounce”)
Written by: Malcolm D. Lee (“The Best Man”)

Pigeonholed into the same roles over the last few years, comedian Martin Lawrence is able to break away (a least a bit) from his usual shtick with some success in “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins.” He still might be a smidgen on the goofy side, but at least he’s not playing a brainless cop again…and that’s always a good first step.

In the film, Lawrence is the title character Roscoe Jenkins, a popular Jerry Springer/Dr. Phil-type talk show host living in L.A. with his quasi-celebrity fiancée Bianca (Joy Bryant) and his young son Jamaal (Damani Roberts).

Roscoe, whose stage name is R.J. Stevens, is a busy man, so when his family, who he hasn’t visited in nine years, invites him home to Georgia to celebrate his parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, he can think of a million things he would rather do than revisit a place he left for a reason.

But when Roscoe finds out Damani has been keeping in contact with his grandfather on the phone and through letters for a couple of years, he realizes how important it is to his son to finally know the Jenkins family (and no, just because Lawrence is the star doesn’t mean there’s a cameo from Sheneneh Jenkins).

The cast of characters that makes up his dysfunctional and sometimes sweet family is wild enough to keep your attention on the comedy side without becoming too top-heavy in slapstick lunacy. Some of these characters deserving enough for mention are Roscoe’s big brother Otis (Michael Clark Duncan), a former linebacker whose found happiness as the sheriff of town he grew up; Reggie (Mike Epps), a leeching cousin, who hasn’t worked a day in his life but somehow always has money; and his other cousin Clyde (Cedric the Entertainer), who he’s always had a rivalry with since they were boys.

More realistic and less obtrusive than anything Tyler Perry has come out with since making it big with his first film in 2005 (although that, to me, is still a mystery), “Roscoe Jenkins” doesn’t take itself seriously and still manages to toss in a few morals-of-the-story without becoming overly enlightening.

You could seriously do a lot worse in this genre than this Lawrence-vehicle. Sure, it’s riddled with stereotypes, but there’s also some good-natured moments amidst all the feuding and sexual innuendo. Think of it as “Roscoe in Real Life” then suck it up, watch a few gags with a surprisingly amusing family, and be thankful Mo’Nique only has a small supporting role.