Making the Grades
Roscoe Jenkins (Martin Lawrence) pulled up his Southern roots and transplanted himself to the warm soil of Los Angeles where he reinvented himself as Dr. RJ Stevens, a suave, status-conscious TV host who entertains scandalous guests and topics on his set.
But after a nine-year absence, his parents (James Earl Jones, Margaret Avery) want him to come home for their 50th anniversary. Although the self-made celebrity isn't anxious to return to his humble beginnings, his son Jamal (Damani Roberts) and his live-in fiancee, Bianca (Joy Bryant) are both eager to go. Because Bianca is a highly competitive win-at-any-cost kind of girl, she wants to check out the family she is about to make an alliance with before saying I do.
However, after meeting the exaggerated characters in this eccentric family it's easy to see why Roscoe left. His sister, Betty (Mo'Nique) regularly visits the local prison, but her trips, under the guise of Bible study, are more about sex than salvation. His drug-hustling cousin Reggie (Mike Epps) is equally sex-crazed and openly vulgar in his assessment of women. But Roscoe dreads seeing his adopted brother Clyde (Cedric the Entertainer) the most. Since boyhood, these two have been in constant competition for everything including Lucinda (Nicole Ari Parker). Reunited as grown men, their interactions soon result in intentional injuries, broken household furniture and fistfights.
While Mama and Papa Jenkins muse over what went wrong with their offspring, it's easy for parents to pick out the behaviors they'd rather avoid in their own house. In addition to the ongoing, coarse sexual comments and the depiction of human as well as animal sex, this plot is served with plenty of alcohol use and a huge dose of strong profanities, racial aspersions and a sexual expletive. Much of the family conversations revolve around crude anatomical assessments and hurtful remarks aimed at each other.
As is often the case in dysfunctional family films, this one squeezes in a tender message or two about the importance of overlooking one another's oddball behaviors and appreciating the value of belonging. But after a painfully, prolonged visit at this outlandish reunion, viewers will welcome the opportunity to be free from this bickering, foul-mouthed clan.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins.
As the winner of a Survivor series, Bianca is all about making alliances. But how does a marriage relationship differ from an alliance? How does the competitive attitudes of Bianca and Roscoe affect their relationship? What does Roscoe’s dad mean when he says marriage is about more than the wedding day?
How does Roscoe’s parenting style differ from that of his older brother Otis (Michael Clarke Duncan)? Why does Otis caution him not to let money raise his son? What things do you think are important for rearing a child?