x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins

A few laughs and some heartwarming moments, writes Tanya Hanna, but most of the gags are absurd and crude.

Martin Lawrence plays Dr RJ Stevens, the stage name he has adopted as a famous talk show host, who is convinced he has left his rural Southern past behind for good. He has loads of money, a great career and a beautiful fiancee (Joy Bryant), making him quite the overachiever. When his parents ask him to come home for their 50th wedding anniversary, he reluctantly agrees to go, with the intention of showing off his new-found good fortune, and proving that he is not the same awkward and weak Roscoe Jenkins his family use to pick on. However, the visit doesn't quite go according to plan. Within minutes of arriving back in the South, he encounters his cousin (Mike Epps), who cons him into giving him $300 (Dh1,000) to buy ice. He soon discovers that far from being impressed by his success, his family are just as keen to tease him as they ever were, and his brother and sister still have no scruples about beating him up. In spite of all the knocks he gets from his family, he learns from his mistakes, learns to appreciate them and be the better man, especially to his 10-year-old son (Damani Robert), who he has recently neglected. It's obvious from the stereotypical characters how the plot is going to turn out. There are a few laughs along the way and some heartwarming moments, but most of the gags are absurd and crude, and it relies too heavily on slapstick.