I love Martin Lawrence. And by “love,” I mean I really don’t like him at all. With exception to the Bad Boys movies, the so-called comedian hasn’t done a single quality piece of work. Hell, even his stand-up is bad. So, with great hesitation did I stick the awkwardly titled Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins into my DVD player.
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins is the typical sludge you’d expect from Martin; it’s not impossible to watch, but there’s no real value in doing so. The movie is about a single father who has made it big in Los Angeles as a TV talk show host and has all but abandoned his true Southern family. However, he decides to head home for a family reunion or birthday or something, and brings his tofu-loving, hot-but-bitchy girlfriend (Joy Bryant) along with him. There, he finds that life hasn’t changed much for his father (James Earl Jones), his childhood arch rival (Cedric the Entertainer) and high school love interest (Nicole Ari Parker), and while he hates that reality at first, he slowly begins to realize that the simple life – the honest life – might be a better alternative than the one he’s made for himself.
This is the kind of movie studios typically make for black audiences: piece together a lackluster script and cram a bunch of well known black actors together and hope that it makes some money. Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins rarely takes itself seriously, yet even more rarely does it evoke laughs. It has its moments, but the movie plods along from scene to scene without any real purpose. The ending is predictable, which is fine, but it’s hard to care about everything else. There are so many cliché, obnoxious characters you can’t count them on two hand.
Martin is his typical smug self, and he’s as unfunny here as he is in his other films. He acts as if he knows what he’s saying isn’t going to draw any laughs, and has resigned to that fact with open arms. I wonder how many more movies this guy can make before studios finally realize he’s damaged goods. Furthermore, Cedric the Entertainer is another guy I can’t stand, and he is equally unfunny. Mo’Nique, one of the most annoying female “actresses” working today, also has a small part. It’s a shame to see people like Jones and Michael Clarke Duncan involved in a picture like this.
In all fairness, though, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins is watchable. It’s not funny and it isn’t entertaining, but it doesn’t claw at your soul to any huge extremes. But that’s about as good of a statement as I can make about the movie.
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins is just another of many stupid, pointless comedies made for black audiences, where quality or entertainment value take second place to simply filling a production with a bunch of African-American actors.