If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Okay, so you know you have those relatives that just come over at odd hours with snacks and movies and expect to be let in and have a good time? That happened earlier this week, and I watched Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins. So I sat there, watching it, and then just focused on college, and now, after watching Korey review it with Co-Host 3000, I just felt like giving my own two cents. Not on their review, but the movie in general.
So, Roscoe Jenkins Junior (Martin Lawrence) who was the nerdy kid in a family filled with loud siblings, especially Roscoe's older sister Betty (modern day version portrayed by Mo'Nique) and eventually Roscoe left his home to get into the big city and has made a success out of himself with a self help show, which is basically a Dr. Phil kind of thing (which Korey said it was in the review) except I don't see Roscoe yelling at people in a stupid accent like Dr. Phil does. Roscoe has a son, Jamal (Damani Roberts) who is very mature, but shy, and his mother apparently died before the movie during childbirth, I think (if I'm wrong, someone please correct me). Roscoe's current girlfriend and fiance is this Survivor winner Bianca Kittles (Joy Bryant) who is competitive in pretty much everything. So Roscoe gets asked to come back home for his folks' fiftieth anniversary, and Roscoe sees it as a chance to show his family how amazing he's made himself. Yet, he's pretty much brought back to before he left, he gets pushed around by a majority of his family, his dad just being stern with Roscoe for not visiting more often. But then Clyde (Cedric the Entertainer), Roscoe's cousin and rival, comes into the picture and Clyde brings Roscoe's old crush Lucinda. Things go downhill for Roscoe then, he gets into this annoying competitiveness with Clyde which pretty much ends with Roscoe and Clyde making idiots of themselves at the traditional Jenkins obstacle course. So, Jamal, being a kid, participates and Jamal gets into a snag, Roscoe begins to help his son until he sees Clyde catch up and Bianca tells Roscoe to leave Jamal, which he does. So now his family is really pissed at Roscoe, but he sees himself in the right, and when his dad is telling Roscoe he is acting like a dick and he needs to stop, Roscoe uses that as a chance to tell his dad that it's not fair that Roscoe had to lose his father because Clyde's died, which is Roscoe trying to say he felt Clyde took Roscoe's place in his father's heart. So, Roscoe notices he might have said the wrong thing when his father, a man who seems unbreakable, walks away seeming to be destroyed. So Clyde tries to make amends and Bianca uses that chance to show how competitive she is and tells Clyde off. Roscoe, Bianca and Jamal leave, and on the ride to the airport Bianca insults the Jenkins and Jamal stands up to her for it, yet Roscoe does not until they get to the airport and she gets kicked out. Then everything is cool when Roscoe comes back to the anniversary party and gives an awesome speech causing he and his father to patch things up and then Lucinda and Roscoe dance and the movie ends with the Jenkins watching the anniversary video with Roscoe and Lucinda making love. Beautiful.
Anyways, with this movie, which focuses a lot on character comedy, I felt it necessary to discuss the characters as the review.
Roscoe Jenkins (Junior): When I look at Roscoe, I think of that stereotypical nerdy guy who lets the "popular" kids walk all over him, thinking to himself that when he's older all these idiots would be working for him. Yet, Roscoe thinks that way about his own family. I'm not going to lie, Roscoe has a lot of moments where you just want to slap him. Obviously when he ditches his son. Only two people in the movie hit Roscoe, both his siblings. Otis and Betty, his older brother and sister respectively, and both times he had it coming yet he did not seem to fathom that. That's the thing, he's apparently ignorant (for the majority of the movie) of the fact that if you talk down to someone or piss them off, they could resort to violence to shut you up. Korey pointed out how annoying the family is for mocking Roscoe for being some huge success, but I think it was just a clever writing idea. Roscoe's family joked with him as a kid, and since they haven't seen him for a long time, they don't have a lot of new material to joke around with. It is stupid for them to say "he's a success what a dumbass" yet it's more like, they're just poking fun, Roscoe is the one who turns it into an insult. Kind of like when you're on a bus and you hear someone ask for the back door to be open, some people just always hear the person ask for the back door to open in an angry tone. Roscoe tries to be the mature, cultured guy around his family but it fails, especially when Clyde enters the picture because Roscoe just goes nuts. It seems though that Roscoe's hatred is one-sided, even more proof that he is pretty paranoid. In a comedic sense, this character I liked a lot, but when I expected something mature or genuine, I was disappointed for a majority of the movie. But Martin Lawrence did a good job portraying him, putting the proper emotion into his lines, but damn. I know the movie is named "Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins" but do we need to focus entirely on him?
Bianca Kittle: You can tell that the writers tried their hardest to make this character unlikeable. It shows in her dialogue, basically, that from the get-go they wanted to make her out to be this awful chick. The actress portraying her, Joy Bryant seemed to know that and accept it and that's what made the character work. There isn't really a lot to say, because if Bianca felt that you were wrong about what your name was she'd probably compete with you on it. The best way to describe Bianca's role in the movie is to be that new factor that ruins a family visit. So she's pretty much the girlfriend no one likes.
Roscoe "Papa" Jenkins: James Earl Jones. This is going to be that one gig that is going to haunt him for the rest of his life. You know a lot of actors have that one gig that's just going to stick with them. For some, this is a good thing, like they are remembered for how well they did in that role so they get bigger opportunities.Then there is the kind of gig that haunts the actor in that they can never expand their acting career. Perfect example would be Jaleel White, for portraying Steve Urkel. He's not very happy people remember him only for THAT role because he hated it. He even said himself that "If you ever see me do that character again, take me out and put a bullet in my head and put me out of my misery." James Earl Jones won't be remembered for this in that sense, but I bet every time he sees that movie or something relating to actors in this movie he worked with he'll think to himself "Whyyyy did I do that?!" Okay, enough about the career haunting. Papa Jenkins is a family man who you could probably tell has never left his home town, and he's kind of the big guy because people respect him, and judging from his few appearances you can see why. He's honest with people and treats them fairly, the only real sign of this not happening is when he seemed to favor Clyde over Roscoe, but that was Papa Jenkins trying to help Clyde deal with the loss of his parents. He was a very simple character, he was easy to understand, but I think that was the beauty of him, he wasn't some deep complex character and didn't need to be. He let the rest of his family be the weirdos.
Mama Jenkins: She doesn't say a lot, but when she does it's pretty much sweet things. Even when the rest of the family is mad at Roscoe for being an asshole, she tries to treat him nicely. Even after he hit her in the head at a ball game, she didn't get mad at him for it. So she's kind of.... Weak because you never see her break that mold, and with this family, I expected her to get really mad at Roscoe when she hurt his dad's feelings. Oh well. Oh, she was portrayed by Margaret Avery.
Reggie Jenkins: A con man. He could apparently get anything from anyone and get out of any bad situation (except for one awkward shower scene between him and Betty). He's dating a white chick who is the daughter of a record producer or something, yet he shows interest in Bianca, so you can tell he's a flirt and kind of, well, a horndog. When Bianca's dog and the family dog Bucky were having sex, his girlfriend's only real reaction was amazement at Bianca's dog being dominant. He has some funny lines, it's Mike Epps so really any line could be funny. Reggie is the stereotypical ignorant black guy, and the movie did not really shy away from that which I thought helped make the character work. But at the same time, he pretty much only successfully conned Roscoe in this movie, I didn't see him con anyone else. Oh wait, Roscoe's got hollywood money and is a sucker. That's why.
Betty Jenkins: Okay, so the first role I ever saw Mo'Nique in was Precious, which I thought she did a great job. Anyways, Betty is this really, really annoying chick. Just picture the big fat, annoying black chick stereotype. She apparently has a religious side, doing bible readings at the prison, but Roscoe says that was more her way to have sex with the inmates. It might be true, she does seem to be really into sex, she's listened in on people, and even at the end of the movie with the Roscoe family interview, one of her questions was "Why can't I have an orgasm?" She isn't really like-able as a character, I don't even think her family really likes her. The only real time Mama Jenkins kind of breaks her out of her mold is when she seems to nag Betty early in the movie. So she fought Roscoe and I was laughing. Roscoe, your older sister is out of shape and also your main tormenter as a kid, you'd think he'd do some low blows, but instead he gets his ass kicked easily. I wasn't really a fan of Betty, I felt a decent chunk of her lines were just unnecessary "Hey let's have some obnoxious dialogue here to move the scene along!"
Clyde Stubbs: Clyde is the local guy done good. Not like Roscoe because Clyde stayed home. Everyone treats Clyde as this awesome guy but I don't really see it. Maybe it's me, I don't know. The interesting thing about this character is how when he competes with Roscoe, you think both of them see each other as rivals, but the rivalry was on Roscoe's side because Clyde stole Lucinda from him when they were fourteen. A majority of the film this rivalry was just friendly competition until the two of them went insane and participated in a children's sporting event. The most effective thing Clyde did in this film was speed up the change in Roscoe, so Roscoe could screw up royally and make amends quicker. His character kind of walked around like that guy at school everyone knows and loves, and I think Cedric the Entertainer was eating that up. Cedric didn't even look like he was acting really, which you could debate to be a good or bad thing.
Lucinda Allen: First off, she's beautiful. Second, she's very down to earth. So Roscoe and her are total opposites. Well not really, Roscoe can be down to earth, but his ego seems to get in his way of keeping that personality. Lucinda and Roscoe's chemistry is cute, old friends but you can tell they both like each other. Even when she was mad at someone she didn't get rude, she kind of made it subtle, which I liked. She's not a real member of the family, but they've known her so well she might as well be a Jenkins, but she seems to be untouched (like Mama Jenkin's) by the rest of the family's shenanigans. She was portrayed by Nicole Ari Parker. Okay, I agree with Korey, how could Martin Lawrence get with her? Damn. I'm going to have to think about that for a while.
Otis Jenkins: Michael Clarke Duncan. Otis is the police chief of the town, and Roscoe's older brother and I think the oldest between him, Betty and Roscoe. You don't see him in any of Roscoe's flashbacks so I don't know how he treated Roscoe as a kid, but if the way he treats Roscoe in the movie was the same for when they were kids, Otis was not a jerky older brother, he just saw himself as the bigger brother. He was shown to have a short temper, and great love for his kids (he looked ready to kill Roscoe when Roscoe hurt his kids during the obstacle course scene) and also great love for his family in general. The best example of this is when Roscoe hit Mama Jenkins during the ball game, Otis' voice got high pitched and he screamed "YOU HIT MY MAMA!!!!" When he tries to tell Roscoe (when they finished taking Mama to the doctor) he's being an idiot, Roscoe lashes at him and Otis punches him. Apparently he's supposed to be the big gruff sweetheart, but a lot of the scenes he was just.... Gruff and there. Nothing else really to say. He was portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan, and I think Otis as a character was weak because they had to show off Betty and Reggie. Otis' wife, Ruthie, never really spoke much either, but she sure did seem to love Otis from the way they interacted physically.
Amy: This is Reggie's girlfriend. She is cute, and just a stupid white chick. You always need one. She doesn't appear that often and when she does, she isn't doing something intelligent. So.... Yeah. Stupid white chick. She loved to have sex with Reggie, though.
Jamal: Damani Roberts. So, Jamal has been raised in the city his whole life, he's never really seen the Jenkins family's home town. He isn't some snooty city boy like his father has become, he's pretty shy. He looked a little uncomfortable in his new surroundings, but only that he's shy and is probably uncomfortable around his loud "family." Jamal does stand up for what he feels is right, which is a very appealing aspect about the character, especially when he tells Bianca that he's proud to be a Jenkins family man even though his own dad didn't seem to feel the same way. I'm guessing Jamal was written in to show a kind of parallel to young Roscoe, meek, to modern Roscoe, conceited. I really hope not because I thought Jamal was his own character. Actually, I wish the film focused on Jamal more. We see him feel uncomfortable around one of his cousins, next scene he's in they are playing together. He's loved by the family, yet they never really show him talking to the family. If they didn't spend so much time on Roscoe. I know, the movie is named "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" but really. They only really talk about the tension between Jamal and his dad for a few minutes, and I think that's too little. The film would have been a lot more interesting if Jamal had more scenes, focusing on how he feels by seeing his dad be pushed around, and how he feels in this new environment. I know it's supposed to be a comedy, but seriously. You could've had scenes of something like, I don't know, Jamal being taken under Reggie's wing until Roscoe finds out, or Betty telling Jamal all about what Roscoe was like as a kid, or Clyde trying to tell Jamal how good of a guy Clyde thinks Roscoe is after Roscoe ditched Jamal at the kid's obstacle course. You could've gotten some laughs out of those scenes, and it isn't like they are hard to write.
So here, first review on this site. Uh, if I went the spill ratings and this were still in theaters, I would say if you really love these films then go ahead, full price because it has good actors and can be hilarious. If you're not a huge fan of these kinds of comedies, I'd say at the most a matinee if you're really interested in seeing it, and if not, a rental. Wow, I went all over the place.