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Stars: Martin Lawrence, Joy Bryant, James Earl Jones, Cedric the Entertainer, Margaret Avery, Michael Clarke Duncan

Director: Malcolm D Lee

Big city talkshow host R J Stevens (Lawrence) reluctantly returns home to Georgia for his parents' 50th anniversary, taking in tow his reality TV star fiancee (Bryant) and her pet Pomeranian.

'S gonna be a long weekend,' Lawrence mutters grimly on arrival. And how right he is. But then he's read the script of this highly indigestible mix of homespun philosophy, sentimentality, crude behaviour and short-fused violence, as Lawrence gets battered at every turn by the huge and obnoxious brothers, sisters and cousins that he foolishly insults.

It soon becomes apparent that R J is still attracted to Lucinda (the stunning Nicole Ari Parker) whom he fancied as a teenager, only to be thwarted by cousin Clyde (Cedric), with whom he renews rivalry over baseball, a game of dice that turns into a house-wrecking fight and, in the film's mildly amusing centrepiece, a bone-crunching, tyre- and log-strewn woodland obstacle race.

Lewd, crude - the dog-humping sequence will have you reaching for the sickbag - and intentionally offensive, the film also has gooey scenes between R J and his son and parents that are written without any depth or perception.

Decent performances by Avery and Jones, both of whom at least keep their dignity, would not be out of place in a much better film. Lawrence does what the part requires but any less talented star, say Ice Cube, could have done it just as well. The movie just squeaks by with a 12A certificate, but is totally unsuitable for junior schoolers.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
113 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 26 May 2008