Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins
In Martin Lawrence's latest low-brow raunch-fest, a TV self-help guru heads back to his hometown and into the perverse and prickly embrace of his extended family.
RJ Stevens (real name: Roscoe Jenkins) is a TV self-help guru whose "Team of Me" philosophy has won him millions of adoring fans. Add money to burn and a beautiful reality-TV fiancée, and you've got a portrait of success. Or so it seems. When he's asked to come home for his parents' 50th wedding anniversary (and corresponding family reunion), however, the self-assured star's knees start a-knocking.
Roscoe dutifully packs up his 10-year-old son and trophy girlfriend anyway and heads back to the waiting embrace of his small hometown and his big Southern family. But their loving hugs slowly morph into painful headlocks as Roscoe's eccentric kinsfolk (in particular, his ever-competitive cousin Clyde) call him on his Hollywood attitudes, challenge him at every turn and badger him back into the awkward underdog role he played while growing up.
And when former crush Lucinda shows up on Clyde's arm, Roscoe starts wrestling internally with everything about his "Team of Me" life. What does he really want? Who does he really love? And what kind of idiot was he to show up at this Looney Tunes reunion in the first place?
When cousin Clyde was a boy, his parents were killed in an accident. Roscoe's folks, Papa and Mama Jenkins, took him into their home. The whole family recognizes that Papa and Mama have always maintained a loving home environment, although there have been times when Roscoe and his father didn't see eye to eye (usually over Clyde). In an impromptu speech at his parents' anniversary dinner, Roscoe thanks his family for making him a better man and giving him the strength to face anything. Roscoe's brother Otis warns him, "Don't let money raise your kids."
A relative thanks God before the family meal. Otis says that it "wasn't in God's plan" for him to have a football career, and he talks about the blessings of living in a small town. Clyde asks in a speech, "Ain't God good?" And Roscoe's sister Betty repeatedly talks about being a "good Christian," though her actions and words are never in synch with that testimony. When Roscoe is initially reluctant to eat barbequed ribs because of a diet rigidly enforced by his fiancée, Otis asks him, "You a Muslim now?"
The camera focuses on Roscoe's and Bianca's heads as they have intense sex. At the peak of excitement, he spouts ecstatic gibberish, and she comments, "Speaking in tongues? That's a first." We later see a close-up of Bianca's abdomen and bare hip. (Her genitals are obscured by Roscoe's head.)
Bianca dresses in revealing, low-cut outfits, as do other women in the family. During a family baseball game, she wears a form-hugging unitard and sports overflowing cleavage that's barely contained by the lightweight fabric.
Roscoe's cousin Reggie is a fount of lewd jokes who brings a randy young woman with him to the gathering. Wearing a skimpy Indian outfit and towel-and-cowboy-hat getup respectively, she and he talk suggestively and make out. Reggie also lusts openly after Bianca and sneaks into the bathroom to spy on her. Instead he finds Betty naked in the shower.
Betty also has quite a penchant for disgusting sexual innuendo. She talks about auctioning off her menstrual-cycle panties, for example. And she's got a leering eye for cousin Clyde—so much so that she has to be reminded several times that they're related.
Clyde hugs Papa and accuses him of taking Viagra. Genitalia, pubic hair and masturbation are all subjects of the family members' libidinous conversations. A guest on Roscoe's Jerry Springer-like TV show faces the camera topless. (The image is blurred.) Roscoe contemplates creating a new TV show called Bible Humpers.
Bianca's little dog and the Jenkins' huge mutt are shown copulating.
Lots of physical mishaps befall Roscoe. A skunk sprays him in the face, and he falls down a flight of stairs and smacks his head on the stone landing. He's punched by Otis. And Betty hits, kicks and scratches him ruthlessly. Roscoe shoves children aside to get the lead at an obstacle course, then slips and painfully straddles a tree trunk. He and Clyde get into a violent wrestling match and manage to destroy the Jenkins' living room and kitchen while battling through the house. Roscoe beans his mother with a softball, leaving a large welt on her forehead. A clip from his TV show pictures a melee in which guests trade shots to the face.
Crude or Profane Language
Profanity flows like a river in this PG-13 rated comedy. The f-word is clearly spoken once and bleeped a half-dozen or so other times. Characters utter the s-word about 20 times, a tally bested only by the 30-plus uses of "a--." Jesus' name is taken in vain once, while God's name gets misused at least 10 times (including two utterances of "g--d--n"). There are more than 50 instances of "h---," "d--n" or "b--ch," and we hear references to male and female body parts, as well as several uses of the n-word.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Guests imbibe wine and mixed drinks at an engagement party. Bianca has champagne during a plane trip, and the Jenkins family drinks beer and wine coolers in several gatherings. Otis' pregnant wife sips a wine cooler.
Other Negative Elements
Roscoe and Clyde gamble with dice. Otis says it's his job as town sheriff to "serve and protect and occasionally whoop a--." Betty talks about Roscoe running faster than "a runaway slave." Bianca calls Roscoe's non-athletic son "pathetic." And Betty is seen eavesdropping on Roscoe and Bianca in their bedroom.
The tagline for Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins proclaims, "Going home is no vacation." Maybe it should have read, "Seeing this movie is no treat."
I'm pretty sure Roscoe's star, Martin Lawrence, would claim that this tasteless exercise in crass comedy is simply an updated version of old-school banana-peel pratfalls and "Take my wife, please!" one-liners. In reality, the film's crudeness factor has been cranked up so far that its humor becomes something closer to slipping on a banana peel, falling face-first into a fire, and having someone else put out the flames—with a hammer. The humor here isn't merely edgy. It's downright dirty.
One positive message is proffered: A loving family is far more valuable than money and ambition. Unfortunately, the route to making this point descends into a drowning deluge of nonstop profanity, raunchiness and some truly icky sexual allusions.
All of which makes for one of the least welcoming welcome-home parties you're apt to encounter any time soon—or maybe ever.