The father of a dysfunctional family dies and all the family members resolve their differences during the wake and the funeral. That’s the story, let’s move on to the transfer.
Okay, I’m told by the voices in my head that my synopsis is a bit short and I should expand upon it a little. Those voices have been right in the past, so I’ll take their advice.
Did I mention all the actors are black? I wonder if all the poor neglected white actors in Hollywood complained about reverse-racism? They have families and mortgages too, so they have the right to act in this film as much anyone else, regardless of race, colour or creed. If things keep going like this, pretty soon there will be all Maori films, all Eskimo films, and worst of all, all Tasmanian films.
Back to the film, there are a few recognisable faces visible. Whoopi Goldberg, LL Cool J, the guy from Exit Wounds (no, it’s not Steven Seagal, I think he’s white), that chick who’s a singer, and Will Smith’s wife from Independence Day. You know that if this movie never happened they’d all be asking “Do you want fries with that?” right now. Noticeably missing from the film is James Earl Jones as the wise grandfather and Denzel Washington in a cameo as someone's studly boyfriend and Chris Rock as the stupid cousin who never shuts up. The film gets one extra star just for not having Chris Rock in it.
But maybe I’m not being fair on the cast, because the script is pretty lame, which leads to it being hard to categorise exactly what kind of film this is, or wants to be. It tries to be humorous, but rarely is. It tries to be profound, but rarely is. It tries to be The Big Chill but doesn’t have Kevin Kline. In the end, it just sits uncomfortably between all these things and just isn’t anything. The story is the equivalent of a black hole. Things happen around it, then get sucked in and disappear forever. “Hey look! There’s some comedy out at the event horizon!” SLLUUURRRPPPP! “Oh, it’s been sucked up now. Forget it. Sigh. Look! Whoopi is going to say something insightful...” SLLUUUURRP! “...damn, nevermind.”
As a result of the average cast and limp script, this film becomes yet another experience which completely leaves your mind within minutes of watching it. When the credits finally roll, you’ll ask yourself whether you even watched the film or if you were abducted by aliens and probed for 91 minutes.
The most entertaining thing about the film is that it stars someone called Cedric the Entertainer.
The voices tell me that’s enough.
As dull as the story is, kudos go to the quality of the picture and audio. A consistently smooth, natural and clean transfer, the picture is framed at 2.35:1 and enhanced for widescreen televisions. You’ll revel in the naturally rendered colours. You’ll swoon at the lush filmic detail. You’ll cack your dacks with delight at the clarity of the picture, free from distraction and other detritus. A glorious day is today, for it marks the first time I’ve used the word 'detritus'. Let us all bow our heads in praise.
The audio exhibits similar qualities, sounding smooth, clear and lush. The only complaint I have of the 384kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is that occasionally some dialogue is a little hard to hear. This isn’t necessarily a fault of the transfer, but rather the way it was shot more likely. Some filmmakers think 'quiet' equals 'thoughtful'. Personally, I think it means 'move the boom mike closer'. Doesn't matter, no-one has anything interesting to say anyway. The sub only gets called up once or twice to push the bass in some thumpy music snippets, otherwise it sits in the corner of your room nice and quiet, waiting for you to put The Rock DVD on again. Be nice to your sub, play a noisy action film every now and then.
There aren’t any extras on this disc, but you won’t find that a great loss seeing as this is a rental release and a mostly forgettable film that will make you realise that maybe you really should have gone out with your friends instead of telling them you felt like staying home alone and being all moody.