Monday, March 8, 2010

When Bad Movies Happen To Good Casts - Kingdom Come.

Black ensemble comedies were a staple in decades past (think Coming To America and Uptown Saturday Night), but the Tyler Perrification of Negro Cinema has pretty much killed the genre. The concept of putting a whole bunch of either big name or merely recognizable actors in one movie and praying for the best result is always a dicey proposition anyway. Chemistry is usually a problem in these movies, and with no definitive "star", the end result can look hella jumbled. Perhaps no urban movie displays the Good Casts/Bad Movies concept better than 2001's godawful Kingdom Come.

The premise of the movie is pretty simple. The hated patriarch of a large Southern family suddenly dies, and a large gaggle of disjointed and non-trusting relatives descend on a small rural town to pay last respects. Hilarity, and a whole bunch of bad Gospel sangin' ensure. The only think missing was the obligatory Bokeem Woodbine cameo.

The cast of this movie was pretty ridiculous when you think about it. You had all sorts of B-Listers from LL Cool J, to Whoopie Goldberg, to a pre-plastic faced Vivica Fox, to the eternally annoying Jada Pinkett. Of course, no Negro movie is complete without Loretta Devine, Cedric the Entertainer, and the eternally underrated Tamala Jones. TV faces like Darius McCrary and Kellita Smith were minor characters. Even a pre-plastic faced Toni Braxton was in this, playing a snooty extended family member. That's a whole lotta black folks on the screen at once.

Predictably, this movie sucked, mainly because it's impossible to have that many people occupy the screen at one time. LL's straight guy and Anderson's n'er-do-well brothers routine lacked any zip. Goldberg was wholly unbelievable as the scorned matriarch. Fox and Braxton were underused. Pinkett, of course, was just as annoying as always. I'm just shocked she went a whole 90 minutes without using the word "Will" a single time.

Despite good intentions, this church themed family comedy was just bad, bad, bad. There were few laughs, the ending was too predictable, and of course, there was all that damn sangin'. Lord, Jesus, can black folks ever make a movie without sangin'?!?

Question: Did you see Kingdom Come?!?

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