It takes a patriarch’s death to unite the Slocumb clan. When Daddy Bud keels over at the breakfast table his extended family gathers for the funeral. Everyone’s got baggage. Ray Bud and his wife struggle with infertility. Junior’s marriage desperately needs stability and trust. Royce’s chief ambition is collecting welfare.
The ethnic comedy Kingdom Come works beautifully, not because of some high concept, but thanks to delicately nuanced characters. Vivid and full of life, this family fights, hurts, cries, loves … and learns. Capping a multitude of moral lessons, Ray Bud expresses regret over never having told his dad that he loved him, sorry for waiting vainly his whole life to hear Daddy Bud say it first.
Kingdom Come suffers from a few mildly violent scenes (one involving a gun) and a handful of profanities. That doesn’t prevent it from exploring redemption in the areas of alcoholism, marital unfaithfulness and family relationships. While played for laughs, Royce’s prodigal lifestyle (girls, alcohol, cigarettes) isn’t excused.
Christian faith is both celebrated and drawn in caricature. Mama Raynelle says she withheld sex from her husband for 20 years to punish him for rejecting the things of God. Even so, she’s sure he’s waiting for her in heaven. Such inconsistent theology is aggravated by the presence of a flatulent minister and an ostentatious Christian aunt. For balance, Kingdom Come features unconditional love, devotion to church, gospel music and scripture recitation. Better than most in this genre.