Review: Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008)

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008)

Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee | 114 minutes | comedy, family | Actors: Martin Lawrence, James Earl Jones, Margaret Avery, Joy Bryant, Cedric the Entertainer, Nicole Ari Parker, Michael Clarke Duncan, Mike Epps, Mo’Nique, Damani Roberts, Brooke Lyons, Liz Mikel, Carol Sutton, Deetta West, Louis CK, Brandin Jenkins, Krystal Braud, Reginald Davis Jr., Gus Hoffman, Ara Grigsby, Samantha Smith, Erin Cummings, Affion Crockett, Amber Duke, Angie Fox, Robin McGee, Taylor Polidore, Werner Richmond, Rich Medina, Ted Ferguson, Fabian C. Moreno, Monyetta Shaw, Darcel White Moreno

You must have it from your family. That’s what Roscoe Jenkins (Martin Lawrence) thinks when he returns home after nine years for a family reunion. In recent years he has become a very successful TV doctor, his big motto is: Team of Me (a big swipe at Dr. Phil). That life spell helps him little when he comes home for the 50th anniversary of Dad (James Earl Jones) and Mom Jenkins (Margaret Avery). He is challenged and made fun of, especially by cousin Clyde and his superficial fiancée Bianca (Joy Bryant) doesn’t do much good either. Not really a warm welcome so…

It feels a bit like ‘Meet the Parents’ (2000) but it had more real humor. Most unfunny here is the obese sister Betty (Mo’Nique). You may know the actress from ‘Ugly Betty’ (2006) and ‘Beerfest’ (2006) roles. Here she is immensely annoying, it is not about anything anymore. After ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), Joy Bryant plays the ruthless tut for once. Big Brother Otis is a simple role played by Michael Clarke Duncan from ‘The Green Mile’ (1999) as a muscle bundle. Cousin Clyde is an insufferable guy (Cedric the Entertainer) who later turns out to be a big crybaby. Cousin Reggie (Mike Epps) is a thieving loser with some funny observations/one-liners in the film. You can take Mom and Dad Jenkins seriously, these are the more sympathetic, believable characters. Just like the beautiful Lucinda (Nicole Ari Parker), the girl Roscoe has never forgotten.

In the flashbacks to the past, they have chosen the young versions of the family well. Also son Jamaal (Damani Roberts) is a nice choice. But the humor and hilarity are very bad. The cheap, simple jokes go on for too long. About obesity and greedy and slapping relatives and much more nonsense. All clichés are used to the maximum. A waste of all the talent that is in the film. James Earl Jones and Michael Clarke Duncan you are almost obliged to give a better script. With comedians Cedric the Entertainer and Martin Lawrence you could put together a very nice film. Martin Lawrence is no different from his other films, you can still sympathize with him a little and you can laugh about him now and then. The ending of the story is bad. Suddenly Roscoe realizes that you can’t choose your family and that you should be grateful for what you have. Arch-rival Clyde gives up just like that after all that challenging and jeering. The finish with the talk show and the weird stories from family members is also not really worth it. ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins’ unfortunately looks nicer on paper than it really is.

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