SYNOPSIS: Sparks fly when Wade Walker (Craig Robinson) crashes the preppy Peeples annual reunion in the Hamptons to ask for their precious daughter Grace's (Kerry Washington) hand in marriage. Wade might be a fish-out-of-water among this seemingly perfect East Coast clan, but he’s not about to let himself flounder. Instead, in a wild weekend of fun, dysfunction and hilarious surprises, Wade is about to discover there’s room for all kinds of Peeples in this family, no matter their differences. Writer and first-time director Tina Gordon Chism (writer of DRUMLINE) joins forces with Tyler Perry to present a laugh-out-loud look at the family ties that freak us out . . . but bind us together with love.
REVIEW: Tyler Perry is at it once again. This time attempting to bring us a purely tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy, that delves in to a very much chartered territory. He produces this one, but he didn’t write the screenplay or star in it despite the fact that we have pretty much become accustomed to his multi-layered talents and multi-layered involvement. Consequently, I hate to say it, but this latest effort would probably have been a stronger film if he did follow his usual MO and involvement by playing a bigger part.
Craig Robinson (The Office – TV series), in his first starring movie role, plays the somewhat awkward, badly dressed, but calm cool and collected Wade Walker, who's meeting the family of his girlfriend for the first time. He does a somewhat mediocre job with the part and doesn’t seem to fit in quite well with the lead role in a romantic comedy. I would go as far as to say that the role would have been better suited to someone like Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys, 1995) or Will Smith because Robinson is neither funny enough nor is he diverse enough, in range.
On the other hand, Kerry Washington (Django Unchained, 2012), plays the daughter of a ball-busting federal judge and patriarch played by funny-man David Alan Grier (In Living Color – TV series). She takes on the role of a seemingly innocent and charming, Grace Peeples and is poised, sexy and brings lots of convincing charm to the role. She is certainly a pleasure to watch bringing her character to life; Though, I didn’t feel that her sweet little-sister character was a good match for Robinson’s clumsy character that at times did not play off of each other quite well romantically.
Grier brings real balance to this flick and provides the occasional laugh out loud hilarity for the most part, but is a little dry in some instances. He is somewhat believable as a man who needs to be in a central lead role in the Peeples “the chocolate Kennedys” clan. However, I think he too was pushing his limits playing a highly respectable federal judge. He’s just a little too comical and witty, to be taken serious in that role. Nevertheless, he sorta’ pulls it all together somehow.
In essence, the film is a cross between Meet the Parents and Adam Sandler’s Grown-ups. I couldn’t really get in to this flick on any kind of depth, and at time found myself struggling to feel the romantic connection between the two leading characters that the whole story was based on. Nonetheless, it does provided elements of romance coupled with attempts at some slapstick style comedy. Still, I was able get the occasional laugh out loud, while sensing the characters’ trials and tribulations. The movie for the most part is a ‘wait for the DVD release’ and would probably not be worth spending $22 for the couples’ night at the theaters. In an attempt to be generous, I would give this latest Tyler Perry effort, three out of five stars for comedic fervor and romance.
By Movi-Man Stan
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