Projections - Movie Reviews

Kingdom Come Kingdom Come

The new film from Doug McHenry is with Whoopi Goldberg and LL Cool J as mother and son in a family whose problems are manifested as they come together during a weekend.  Written by David Dean Bennett and Jessie Jones as adapted from their play "Dearly Departed," Kingdom Come has more truth than The Brothers which somewhat diluted the effect of its able, but lesser known black cast with a soapy "refusing to exhale" tone and a pallid production quality.  But the similarity lies in how both films as a whole can't justify their conclusions from the humorous and painful interaction within or between families and friends.

Not as ingratiating as George Tillman Jr.'s Soul Food which also features Vivica A. Fox, who is Lucille, the wife of LL Cool Jr.'s Ray Bud, Kingdom Come gets its impetus from the death of a stubborn patriarch - not the warm, old fashioned Sunday dinners prepared by a mother in order to  mend ill will in her divisive clan.  Goldberg's Ranelle Siocumb witnesses her unkind husband pass right in front of her from a stroke.

While Bud will have to go to pointy tower house, son Junior, Anthony Anderson (Exit Wounds) loses it while driving back home with wife Charisse, a harpy Jada Pinkett Smith, and his three impish kids.  As the shrew locates an earring, that is not hers, in the vehicle.  Royce (Darius McCray) doesn't appease devout Bible reader and mother Marguerite with his edgy demeanor and long-term attempts to have a family supported by welfare.  As the family becomes reacquainted Kingdom Come uncovers a more serious side beneath its lighter veneer.

Ray Bud is a good provider for Lucille, but the recovering alcoholic, who wants to be a father, is knocked off the wagon by the burial, which only he can afford, and it drives him to deal with his anger toward his father, and to blows with Junior.  His brother is out of work and broke, but Anderson endows him with affability though the usually sharp lines elude him.  As time passes, McCray's tough qualities become more clear with the news of his incarcerated, soul brother.

Goldberg shows an uncharacteristic, softer quality and it works well off of LL Cool J's subtly affecting turn in their exchanges and Pinkett Smith is an emotional firecracker.  The transition to deeper sentiment isn't endowed with the type of humor that allow the last act to have emotional heft.  Still, Kingdom Come isn't without variety as Toni Braxton is luminous as a rich cousin who is more composed than the envious Charisse.

By the time Cedric the Entertainer (The Original Kings of Comedy) appears to change the mood of a solemn congregation, we know the ties that bind and what can satisfy and be appreciated by the family unit and audience alike.  Still, the prayers from its nearly divine cast will not necessarily be answered, in Kingdom Come.

 
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