As far as I can tell, Hollywood thinks that the only thing required to get black people into theaters is to put a bunch of black people onscreen and then have them talk hip and jive about various random, inane topics. In this case, Raynelle Slocum's (Whoopi Goldberg) husband drops dead, and the entire Slocum family gathers for the funeral.
First of all, a funeral is about as good a reason to create a movie as a seal-clubbing. Funerals, like graduations, are among the most boring events on the face of the earth. I avoid them. Frankly, they should both be held in exactly the same way: Here's your plaque. Goodbye. They should take no more than two minutes. Think of the industry that has thrived on death -- it's possible to make a great living simply by burying people. I think cremation is a far better option. Cemeteries take up valuable space that could be put to better use as golf courses or mobile home parks. I can assure you of this: worms or flames, it's all the same to the stiff.
The idea for this movie is this: Put six or eight ridiculously stereotypical characters -- or shall I say caricatures -- in the same space and let them scream at each other for two hours. Ever wake up in the middle of the night because a couple of cats are clawing each other to death outside your window? That's this movie. Raynelle didn't even like her dead husband. Her son (LL Cool J) doesn't like her other son. Her daughter-in-law (Jada Pinkett) is a screeching freak. It just goes on and on -- it makes you want to fling open the screen and throw a shoe at them.
Whoopi Goldberg gives a performance that borders on the catatonic. She just sits there with a faraway look that seems to say, "I need a new agent." Then she rolls her eyes and crosses her hands on her lap. Her only connection with the audience is that she, too, is biding her time, waiting for the movie to run its course.
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