I PURPOSELY CHANGED ALL THE NAMES and circumstances so as not to offend any of the actual people. They may be relatives, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances or simply me hearing about such an event that I will now be sharing with you. My guess is that many of you will find something to relate to, if not having experienced the same thing for yourself already. With the holidays fast approaching this is the perfect time to talk about family get togethers. There is Aunt Shirley who insists on pinching your cheeks as if you were still an infant, every time she sees you. Uncle Fred commands you to tell him your latest work accomplishment, just so he can then top your story with one of his own success stories. Oh, and let us not forget cousin Mary who brings the same jello mold to every event; she calls it her “broken glass” jello mold. Doesn’t that sound appealing? Every holiday dinner she brings this creation of hers, explaining each time how she makes different flavored bowls of jello and cuts them into tiny cubes to dump into her metal mold with the floral etchings. Sadly, many of us feel forced to take a slice of this abomination so as not to hurt her feelings. THE REASON I MENTIONED THESE DIFFERENT PEOPLE is because I wanted to talk about some of the things one must do out of either necessity, duty or kindness. One may go to a family function and experience the same scenarios every year, maybe every month. You hear the same stories 100 times; each person acts just as you expected them to do, so there are no surprises. Also, there is not much difference between each get together. This does not mean you have a horrible time; you may simply enjoy the presence of your family and friends around you. There is a history you each share that keeps you coming back time and time again. So, what if Uncle Ernie plays the same practical joke on you or cousin Vicki talks your ear off about people in her life you have never met; there is something in you that allows you to accept these people unconditionally. I can say the same thing about reviewing movies. There are certain directors and writers who produce the same thing for each of their films. I know what to expect and rarely do I get surprised. Today’s movie fits the bill; it is the same thing I have seen over and over. AFTER HER RELEASE FROM PRISON TANYA, played by Tiffany Haddish (The Oath, Night School), had nowhere to stay except with her sister Danica, played by Tika Sumpter (Ride Along franchise, The Haves and the Have Nots-TV). The two sisters were nothing alike but who knew each could help the other with a problem. This latest dramatic comedy from Tyler Perry (Acrimony, Good Deeds), was no different from many of his other stories. What you see on the trailer is pretty much the same you see in this movie. Tiffany, though she is good at what she does, needs to stop playing the same type of characters; they all look and act the same to me. The script was pedestrian and predictable. With Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act franchise, The Color Purple) as Lola and Amari Hardwick (The A-Team, The Runner) as Frank; there was too much going on in the script. Not enough time was devoted to each storyline which resulted in a bland monotone of events. I will say there were a couple of chuckles but nothing worth paying the full price to see this picture. Because I like staying consistent, I felt the need to see this film; sitting and watching this movie was like taking a slice of cousin Mary’s jello mold.
1 ¾ stars
It could start with what appears to be a simple look between siblings, but you know there is more behind the momentarily locked glance. You have been sitting at the restaurant table all this time wanting to eliminate your bladder but you refuse to excuse yourself from the table, leaving the siblings alone to talk about you. The reason is you have been in a relationship for a few months and today is the day you are meeting the sister for the very first time and you know what that means. I do not care what anyone says but one of the hardest parts of dating someone new is meeting family members or the best friend for the first time. Sure they may tell me this will be a friendly get together but I know better; the family member or friend is coming in to offer their assessment of me as potential partner material. I will never forget meeting a date’s 14 year old daughter, who did not make eye contact with me once during the first 2 courses of the meal. It was not until dessert, when the subject turned to current music, that she looked at me in amazement with my familiarity of current music. Little did I know that teaching aerobics would provide me with this extra benefit for my get together. Seeking sibling approval was the premise for this action comedy. Kevin Hart (Grudge Match, This is the End) played security guard and hopeful police cadet, Ben Barber who was hoping to get the blessing from Atlanta policeman James Payton, played by Ice Cube (21 Jump Street, Barbershop), to marry his sister Angela, played by Tika Sumpter (Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, Salt). The only way James would accept Ben is if he could survive one day riding with James while on duty. If you like Kevin’s style of humor then you might enjoy this picture better than I did. I do not consider Kevin an actor since I have now seen him in a few films and see no difference between him in concert or portraying a character in a movie; he is always the same. Ice Cube has some acting ability but in this movie he predominately gave a variety of mean looking scowls. The movie trailers already showed a majority of the humorous parts; the only aspect missing were the few action scenes. There was nothing very original here. If you want my opinion, consider taking public transportation and avoid going on this ride along.
1 3/4 stars