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20th Century Fox presents
Kingdom Come (2001)

"My daddy just died, can you understand that? My daddy just died, I'm 33 years old, I'm dead broke, I got no prospects, three kids, and worst of all - I'm married to you."
- Junior Slocumb (Anthony Anderson)

Review By: Daniel Hirshleifer   
Published: September 17, 2001

Stars: LL Cool J, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Loretta Divine, Anthony Anderson
Other Stars: Toni Braxton, Cedric The Entertainer, Darius McCrary, Whoopi Goldberg
Director: Doug McHenry

MPAA Rating: PG for Thematic elements. Language and sensuality.
Run Time: 01h:34m:33s
Release Date: September 25, 2001
UPC: 024543023968
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

It is my opinion that you should not see Kingdom Come. Ever. That is, unless you are a masochist. Even if you are, I still have to warn you: this movie is one clichÈ after another after another. It's like you dropped into a clichÈ party just as they were starting a conga line. Even a cast as noteworthy as this one cannot save this story from its wretched script and two-dimensional characters. I was able to predict every plot movement before they occurred, and I never laughed. For a comedy, that's a pretty bad track record. I am astounded that a movie like this can actually get made, and that it could attract such talented actors.

Raynelle Slocumb (Whoopi Goldberg) is suddenly widowed when her husband dies of a stroke at the breakfast table. In honor of the occasion, the whole family comes together. First off is Raynelle's sister-in-law, Marguerite (Loretta Devine), a thoroughly repugnant bible thumping, guilt-tripping, pompous woman and her son, Royce (Darius McCrary), a deadbeat living off unemployment checks. Next up is Raynelle's youngest son, Junior (Anthony Davis), who is broke due to a failed pipe dream. Junior brings along with him his abusive wife Charisse (Jada Pinkett Smith), and their three children. Junior is so sick of Charisse that he cheats on her, and, of course, she finds out (to no discernable difference in the family dynamic). Finally there is Ray Bud (LL Cool J) and his wife, Lucille (Vivica A. Fox), who want to conceive a baby, but Lucille keeps losing the unborn children. Add to the mix a lispy preacher (Cedric the Entertainer), and an annoying cousin (Toni Braxton), and you have the makings of a movie with potential. Potential, unfortunately, that is never realized.

There is almost nothing about this movie that I can recommend at all. Let's start with the supposed humor. First, a man dies of a stroke. Now, death can often be funny, but in this case the direction makes it appear more matter-of-fact. Not soon after, Junior is driving with his dysfunctional family, and when he gets sick of Charisse's whining, sends the car careening across the highway, and then pulls out a gun and threatens his wife and three children. I must be slow here, because I don't find that funny. A man threatening to kill his entire family. Of course, maybe I'm missing something. Maybe the humor is that the three kids aren't affected at all by the fact that their own father has pulled a gun on them. Or maybe it was just in poor taste. On top of all this Loretta Divine's character is obnoxious and irritating from beginning to end. I really wanted someone to slap her. And then Junior could have pulled a gun on her. That would have been funny.

Secondly, the acting was hideous. Jada Pinkett Smith spends her entire performance screaming and whining and being entirely unsympathetic to anyone at anytime. Loretta Divine is actually a good actress, but her part is so bad that she could do nothing with it. Anthony Anderson and LL Cool J performances aren't so bad, but nothing special. Cedric The Entertainer gives the preacher a lisp so absurd that it reminded me of Michael Palin's emperor character in Life of Brian. I expected him to say, "We shall wewease Bwian! Bwian shall be reweased!" (I haven't seen Mr. Entertainer in any other films, and if that's the way he really talks, I apologize for slamming it. If however, it was an acting choice, it was a poor one.) But what worked for Monty Python does not work here. This was Toni Braxton's first film, and—sorry—let's hope it's her last; her flat delivery was unbearable. And finally we get to Whoopi Goldberg. Whoopi moves through this movie as if she were dead, or at least sleepwalking. She's supposed to be from the South, and her accent is audible once, and then it just goes away. Now, we all know that Whoopi Goldberg is a fine actress, but her performance here was so poor that I actually feel sorry for her. The only redeeming performance is from Vivica A. Fox, who somehow shines through the muck to be something of a character and not a caricature.

Finally, we come to the ending. This is where an already bad movie becomes something worthy of Satan himself. At every point possible, this movie goes in exactly the wrong direction. I want to tear the ending apart like an onion and expose EVERY imperfection, but it's just not worth my time.

Rating for Style: F
Rating for Substance: F


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: While the movie may be terrible, the transfer certainly isn't. Fox has given us another spectacular transfer of a spotless print. Everything about this is pristine.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: There is a 5.1 mix on this disc, but the surrounds are only used for the music. When the score does kick in, the sound is rich and full. For the rest of the time, the dialogue is clear, but there's nothing really remarkable about this mix. There was actually potential to have some good surrounds, such as Junior's kids, but overall, even the front surrounds didn't get much use. It's a center-based mix. A Dolby Surround mix is also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Doug McHenry
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Music video
Extras Review: This disc has a few extras, none of them particularly interesting. The biggest extra is a commentary by Doug McHenry. This is a bad commentary. During the opening credits, he says, "This movie was so good, because of the cast, including - " And then he proceeded to read the names as they came up on the screen. This must be a bit from the department of redundancy department. And the rest of the commentary is more of that. "This is a dolly shot that goes through the screen door by the kitchen of the house," he informs us at one point. Why yes, Doug, yes it is. That's exactly what it is. A few good stories escape Doug, but overall this commentary should be avoided. We also get a featurette about the making of the soundtrack. Studio fluff. Also included is a music video from the aforementioned soundtrack, and a theatrical trailer and four TV spots.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

I wish I could give this movie lower than an F. Everything about it is wrong; bad script, bad acting, and one of the worst endings I've ever seen in any movie combine to make a giant dog turd. When Kingdom Come, this reviewer be gone.


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