Bouncing off the subterranean floor of my expectations, "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" turns out to be formulaic and broad but also skillfully paced and big-hearted, with a sharp cast of comics that makes the most of a sunny script.
Lawrence, almost unrecognizable in man's clothing but no fat suit, is "R.J. Stevens," a TV star with a hot TV fiancÃ©e (Joy Bryant) who won "Survivor." His idea of a great gift for his parents: a plasma TV, a 50-inch flat-screen symbol of his own shallowness. R.J. - real name Roscoe Jenkins - hasn't seen his rural Georgia family in years.
Bringing along his stuck-up hottie, Roscoe nervously returns to the "chitlins and cornbread" of small-town life for his parents' 50th anniversary. Soon he's being manhandled by his cop brother (Michael Clarke Duncan), scammed by his hip-hop brother (Mike Epps) and punished with the smell of barbecued ribs forbidden by his Hollywood diet. "They done sissified you off the pig!" someone says. His fiancÃ©e's bottle of Bordeaux winds up in the fruit punch.
There is plenty of slapstick - a disturbing love scene between mismatched dogs, a fistfight between Roscoe and his jumbo-size sister (Mo'Nique) - but director Malcolm D. Lee never takes his eye off character. That makes the physical comedy funnier and sets up some warm family moments
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