Weddings and funerals always seem to bring out the worst in some families. The Slocum family is no exception, all together in this small Southern town named Lula all these half-cocked personalities involved, and you know you're in for a major twister. I have seen this movie numerous times and it still gets me. Director Doug McHenry (Jason's Lyric) gets up close on these people and even though doesn't break any ground in filmmaking; it is darkly funny and simple.
It starts off with Whoopi Goldberg who plays Mamma Ray, a woman whose "mean and surly" husband, Bud, drops dead at the dinner table. Her large and dysfunctional family gathers for his funeral and brings all their personal baggage with them. Eldest Son Ray Bud (LL Cool J) never liked his dad and is angry at his brother Junior (Anthony Anderson) for being a dreaming bum. Ray Bud's wife Lucille hides her unhappiness behind pills and soothing words. Junior's marriage to his childhood sweetheart, Charise (Jada Pinkett), is falling apart due to poverty, infidelity, and general unpleasantness. Bud's sister Marguerite, a bible-thumping Baptist, comes to comfort Mamma Ray (Loretta Devine) but instead fights with her own "demon" son, Royce (Darius McCrary). All problems may be predictably solved in the end but watching the destruction and salvation of the all these relationships endlessly entertained me.
What lifted this movie above the level of sitcom was the performances, particularly Whoopi Goldberg's. She is divine in this film, portraying a strong woman of few words but great strength and dignity. Anthony Anderson is also delightful and shows a greater range than he has in "Exit Wounds" or "Romeo Must Die." His scene where he explains why he cheated on his wife is a wonderful moment of understated sadness. It is such moments balanced with his usual high-energy comedy that makes his performance so strong. Loretta Devine and Darius McCrary work together extremely well as bickering mother and son and provide the biggest laughs of the film. McCrary also has some nice serious moments and manages to flush out a pretty standard bad-boy-with-a-heart role.
All the performances were strong and never flinched from honestly showing the character or situation. There are some really ugly people and circumstances in the film and they are not sugar-coated which makes them all the more funny or frightening to watch.Read more ›