A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references
Starring:Cuba Gooding Jr., Beyonce Knowles
Directed By:Jonathan Lynn
Some films can reek of mediocrity and still make you want to watch it. There are few flicks though that can successfully pull this off. These films are what many critics such as the Mike and myself call guilty pleasures. The Mike will hail Captain Ron and Clownhouse as wonderful films until the day he dies, just as I will tell you that Dirty Work with Norm McDonald is the work of a modern day comic genius. No one will ever believe me when I say that but I know deep down inside I might be right. I also know that even fewer people will believe me when I say the newest Cuba Gooding Jr. Flick isn’t half bad either, but trust me kids when I say that it was a shocker for me as well.
Cuba is back on the screen playing Darrin a New York City Advertising executive who has made his way through life bashing on the little guy and lying cheating and stealing his way through life. His finances are on the rocks, and he just can’t seem to find a credit card company that will pick up his debt. And to make matters worse he quickly ends up jobless only days after expecting a promotion. So when the unexpected news of his Aunt Sally dying comes his way, Darrin has plenty of time to head back to his southern small town home for the funeral and the family will reading. When the Will is read, we find out that Darrin’s Aunt Sally is leaving him $15,000 if he can get her local church gospel choir to win the Gospel Extravaganza contest, which is less than 6 weeks away. Desperate for cash Darrin decides to stop at nothing to get the money since the money is just what he needs to save himself from financial trouble. But getting an award winning gospel choir put together is not easy, and Darrin resorts to a town filled full of misfits to create a team of winners.
I never in a million years thought I would find enjoyment in this film. There was nothing that made me think to myself, This looks like a positive step for Cuba. Since his Oscar winning performance, we have seen next to nothing from Cuba that has proved to have worth, and most recently have found him making films such as Snow Dogs and Boat Trip. His comedic career has landed him flat on his face, but he may have actually found a flick that is somewhat redeeming. Although there is nothing in this flick that makes it great to watch, it still is mildly entertaining enough to hold the audience’s attention for a few hours. Cuba does a nice job in the role, and for once almost fits the part perfectly, and his cast of misfit townspeople is almost fun to watch. The acting is far from perfection, but it’s also far from bad as well. One might say it is mediocrity at it’s best.
We all know the happy ending to the plot, we all know the story and we all can guess the chain of events before they happen, but that doesn’t mean a film can’t be entertaining. It’s how the story chooses to lead up to this chain of events that counts. In this case, they showcase the diversity of the townspeople and their different musical tastes and how they all come together in the end. Believe it or not it’s fun to watch Prison Inmates in a gospel choir with a 14-year-old boy, an alcoholic redneck and a bunch of old ladies. It’s just plain fun.
But in reality, like I stated above, it’s just mediocre. There is nothing that pushes the envelope; there is nothing that makes it something you want to watch over and over again. It’s just average. In all honesty, I can’t say it is worth your admission price, but it is easily an ok rental flick if you have some spare change lying around and want to disengage your brain for a few hours. Although no one will call this Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Comeback role, it’s a step in the right direction for him, and although it will quickly disappear from the box office charts, this overall average film isn’t half as bad as one might think from the previews.