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4 items from 2004


Kutcher Punks Again

29 September 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood heart-throb Ashton Kutcher is warning his fellow celebrities to be on a careful lookout - he's just signed up for three more seasons of his hit prank show Punk'd, despite promising his most recent series would be his last. Cable network MTV has ordered a total of 24 episodes of the hidden-camera show, which scored an average of three million viewers when it debuted last year. The That '70s Show star even managed to prank his fans when he announced that he had scrapped plans for a third season last winter, only to return again. Stars who have fallen victim to Kutcher's antics include Justin Timberlake, Bow Wow, Beyonce Knowles, Eve, Halle Berry and Pink. His new targets include his Guess Who co-star Bernie Mac and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. »

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Johnson Family Vacation

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens

Friday, April 9

NEW YORK -- A genial family comedy well-timed to capitalize on the rising popularity of comedian Cedric the Entertainer, "Johnson Family Vacation" is a distinct if more genteel throwback to National Lampoon's popular 1980s "Vacation" series starring Chevy Chase. Mild in both humor and impact, this well-cast comedy should provide welcome diversion during the holidays for audiences looking for a somewhat lighter experience than the crucifixion of Christ or the massacre at the Alamo.

The rudimentary plot by first-time screenwriters Todd R. Jones and Earl Richey Jones has The Johnson Family piling into their loaner Lincoln Navigator -- at times the film plays like a feature-length car commercial -- on a road trip from California to Missouri for a family reunion. Said car has been tricked out with various hip-hop-style accouterments, which becomes one of the film's running gags.

The family is not exactly a harmonious unit, as the irascible Nate Johnson (Cedric) is currently separated from his beautiful wife, Dorothy (Vanessa Williams), with the inevitable tensions leading to much squabbling. Things aren't much easier between Nate and his children: teenage son DJ (Bow Wow), who aspires to a rapping career; precociously sexy daughter Nikki (Solange Knowles), who dresses to show off her assets; and young daughter Destiny (Gabby Soleil), who brings her imaginary dog on the trip.

The series of mildly slapstick comic misadventures that ensue, including one elongated episode with a comely young hitchhiker (an amusing Shannon Elizabeth) who turns out to be a witch, are largely unmemorable, though Cedric manages to extract as much humor as possible out of the various situations, many of which revolve around his character's horniness toward his ex. (The less-than-buff comedian and the gorgeous Williams represent one of those mismatched couples who only show up in the movies or sitcoms.) Things perk up appreciably toward the end with the appearance of Steve Harvey as Nate's highly competitive brother; you can feel the performers, who toured together as two of the "Kings of Comedy", bringing out the juice in each other.

Cedric, who stole the "Barbershop" movies with the ease of a master vaudevillian, delivers a more conventional, Bill Cosby-style turn here but generally finds the laughs. He also has good chemistry with the cannily cast young music stars Bow Wow and Knowles (the latter making her film debut), both of whom deliver engaging performances.

Johnson Family Vacation

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Hallway Pictures

Credits:

Director: Christopher Erskin

Screenwriters: Todd R. Jones, Earl Richey Jones

Producers: Paul Hall, Cedric the Entertainer, Eric C. Rhone, Wendy Park

Executive producer: Andrew Sugerman

Director of photography: Shawn Maurer

Production designer: Keith Brian Burns

Editor: John Carter

Music: Steve Bartek

Cast: Nate Johnson: Cedric the Entertainer

Dorothy Johnson: Vanessa Williams

Nikki Johnson: Solange Knowles

DJ Johnson: Bow Wow

Max Johnson: Steve Harvey

Chishelle: Shannon Elizabeth

Destiny Johnson: Gabby Soleil

Running time -- 96 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

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McBride, Epps, Cannon rolling with 'Bounce'

17 June 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Malcolm Lee's roller-skating comedy Roll Bounce is moving forward with a cast that includes Chi McBride, Bow Wow, Nick Cannon, Khleo Thomas, Mike Epps, Meagan Good and Rick Gonzalez. The Fox Searchlight/Fox 2000 co-production is due to start lensing June 28 in Chicago with State Street Pictures producing. From a script by Norman Vance Jr., the late '70s-inspired coming-of-age comedy centers on a time when roller skating was a way of life. X (Bow Wow) and his pals rule supreme at their local roller-skating rink, but when the doors close, the boys venture into foreign territory -- uptown's Sweetwater Roller Rink, complete with over-the-top skaters and beautiful girls. Through his preparation for the showdown of the season, X manages to find himself and also help his dad (McBride) get back on track. Brandon Jackson, Marcus Paulk and Jurnee Smollett round out the cast. »

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Johnson Family Vacation

7 April 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens

Friday, April 9

NEW YORK -- A genial family comedy well-timed to capitalize on the rising popularity of comedian Cedric the Entertainer, "Johnson Family Vacation" is a distinct if more genteel throwback to National Lampoon's popular 1980s "Vacation" series starring Chevy Chase. Mild in both humor and impact, this well-cast comedy should provide welcome diversion during the holidays for audiences looking for a somewhat lighter experience than the crucifixion of Christ or the massacre at the Alamo.

The rudimentary plot by first-time screenwriters Todd R. Jones and Earl Richey Jones has The Johnson Family piling into their loaner Lincoln Navigator -- at times the film plays like a feature-length car commercial -- on a road trip from California to Missouri for a family reunion. Said car has been tricked out with various hip-hop-style accouterments, which becomes one of the film's running gags.

The family is not exactly a harmonious unit, as the irascible Nate Johnson (Cedric) is currently separated from his beautiful wife, Dorothy (Vanessa Williams), with the inevitable tensions leading to much squabbling. Things aren't much easier between Nate and his children: teenage son DJ (Bow Wow), who aspires to a rapping career; precociously sexy daughter Nikki (Solange Knowles), who dresses to show off her assets; and young daughter Destiny (Gabby Soleil), who brings her imaginary dog on the trip.

The series of mildly slapstick comic misadventures that ensue, including one elongated episode with a comely young hitchhiker (an amusing Shannon Elizabeth) who turns out to be a witch, are largely unmemorable, though Cedric manages to extract as much humor as possible out of the various situations, many of which revolve around his character's horniness toward his ex. (The less-than-buff comedian and the gorgeous Williams represent one of those mismatched couples who only show up in the movies or sitcoms.) Things perk up appreciably toward the end with the appearance of Steve Harvey as Nate's highly competitive brother; you can feel the performers, who toured together as two of the "Kings of Comedy", bringing out the juice in each other.

Cedric, who stole the "Barbershop" movies with the ease of a master vaudevillian, delivers a more conventional, Bill Cosby-style turn here but generally finds the laughs. He also has good chemistry with the cannily cast young music stars Bow Wow and Knowles (the latter making her film debut), both of whom deliver engaging performances.

Johnson Family Vacation

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Hallway Pictures

Credits:

Director: Christopher Erskin

Screenwriters: Todd R. Jones, Earl Richey Jones

Producers: Paul Hall, Cedric the Entertainer, Eric C. Rhone, Wendy Park

Executive producer: Andrew Sugerman

Director of photography: Shawn Maurer

Production designer: Keith Brian Burns

Editor: John Carter

Music: Steve Bartek

Cast: Nate Johnson: Cedric the Entertainer

Dorothy Johnson: Vanessa Williams

Nikki Johnson: Solange Knowles

DJ Johnson: Bow Wow

Max Johnson: Steve Harvey

Chishelle: Shannon Elizabeth

Destiny Johnson: Gabby Soleil

Running time -- 96 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

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4 items from 2004


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