"Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins" gets 2 Red Vines for a big waste of even bigger talent.
is funny. Or at least he can be. I can't remember how many times he had me rolling with all his great characters on his TV show "Martin." But I have come to the conclusion that great funnymen are only as funny as their writers and for some unfathomable reason, Lawrence can't seem to cop a break when it comes to funny screenwriters. "Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins" is a most unwelcomed reminder of that dismal fact.
The movie starts out with great promise. The opening credits are Roscoe's TV talk show credits. Interspersed with tabloid news style reports we learn that the Jerry-esque host is engaged to marry a fierce but beautiful winner (Joy Bryant) from "Survivor." But when the opening sequence ends, so does the light-hearted chance for any laughs. Because it isn't long before Roscoe and his overly competitive fianc head to the south for his parent's anniversary/family reunion.
One would think that a cast of who's who made up primarily of top notch comedians would translate into big laughs. But the likes of Cedric the Entertainer, Mo'Nique and even Martin himself are wasted. Why? Because this dysfunctional family has more drama than "The Young and The Restless"! Throw in heavy dramatic contenders like James Earl Jones and Margaret Avery and the dysfunctional pain becomes too real for laughter. What few laughs there are come from the crudest references possible.
I can only assume all the drama is to give a serious message to a light weight movie but the message was lost on me. Way too much meanness that can't be washed away with a dramatic speech and a couple of hugs at the end of a trail of tears and humiliation.
This is one family reunion you should skip.
LADIES ROOM LOWDOWN: It might be a family reunion, it might star lots of funny people but this PG-13 movie has no business at your family reunion! What few laughs there are come from material that is definitely not family friendly.