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Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins

By Jason Ferguson | Posted 2/13/2008

With Martin Lawrence headlining a cast that includes Cedric the Entertainer, Mo'Nique, and Mike Epps, it would be easy to assume that Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins is a comedy that's unlikely to be trading in subtlety. But just as he did with 2005's Roll Bounce, director Malcolm D. Lee has again managed to craft a warm and nostalgia-drenched crowd-pleaser that defies superficial expectations. Lawrence plays a daytime talk-show host whose adult life has been mostly devoted to distancing himself from his Georgia family, but on the occasion of his parents' 50th anniversary, he can no longer avoid going home. Dr. RJ Stevens--with his PR-craving fiancée, fancy clothes, and "Team of Me" philosophy--doesn't have much in common with his past life as perpetual loser Roscoe Jenkins, and his brash and unforgiving kin are quick to remind him of this. While the comics in the cast have little to offer in the way of nuanced acting, their ridiculously sharp timing combines with Lee's quick-moving script to push the humor here well past the dumb physical gags promised by the trailer; the "real" dialogue is wisely given to actors like James Earl Jones. By wrapping the movie's anti-materialism, pro-family message in raunchy one-liners and sight gags, Lee delivers a sweeter--and slightly more subversive--flick than you would expect. ()

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