AAA can't help the roadside emergency that is the JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION. Even the on-board navigation system has a meltdown on Nate Johnson and his family's cross-country trek to their ... See full summary »
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Cedric the Entertainer,
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AAA can't help the roadside emergency that is the JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION. Even the on-board navigation system has a meltdown on Nate Johnson and his family's cross-country trek to their annual family reunion/grudge match. Reluctantly along for the ride are Nate's wife, who's only in it for the kids; their rapper-wannabe son; their teenage daughter who's fashioned herself as the next Lolita; and their youngest, whose imaginary dog Nate just can't seem to keep track of. Can the Johnsons survive each other and all the obstacles the road throws at them to make it to Caruthersville, Missouri? Can they find Missouri? Written by
'Solanges Knowles' (Beyoncé Knowles' sister) makes an ad lib reference to her sister during a cell phone conversation in her first scene of the movie. Her character's little sister in the movie is named "Destiny" an obvious reference to her sister's former group Destiny's Child. See more »
In the sack race scene, the "Lakers" logo on the back of DJ's jacket is backward. See more »
[DJ sees Nate's griddle and tries to sneakily get a piece, Nate catches him and hits his hand]
oh no! don't even think about it
[takes the griddle and starts eating it]
Man what would i do without my Mike Tyson Griddle, tastes so good it'll bite cha back
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Cedric is good but the material is weak and the plot development simply lazy
It is an annual event in the wider Johnson clan to get together for a reunion of food, song and competition a competition that is always won by Mack Johnson. Despite being separated from his wife, Nate Johnson gets his family together to attend as usual and keep up appearances. With a brand new Navigator truck and a tight time scale, the family of five set out on their road trip only to find themselves having to deal with cement, police, alligators and hitchhikers and that's all before they get to the reunion.
I generally avoid all-black comedies; not because I am racist but because the opposite is true and I find that many of these modern blaxploitation comedies are full of racist stereotypes and broad ethnic caricatures. With this film screening on a flight I was on I decided to watch it as I find it very difficult to sleep on planes. I was pleased to find that the film didn't base itself on racist stereotypes and the like and instead went for the more race-neutral approach of road movie broad gags a la Vacation. This is not to say that it is funnier only easier to watch because it is less offensive to me personally. The plot is very simple but it makes the mistake of not staying simple instead it adds subplots of separation and treats them seriously. This is a problem because it rounds them off in glib, unconvincing ways that make a joke out of ever having them in the first place the whole issue of Nate and Dorothy working things out is a perfect example, the supposed focal point of the family contest is another one it feels tacked on.
The film is not anywhere near as funny as it needed to be to be a good comedy. It has the odd laugh but generally the humour is so very broad and uninspired that it is hard to do anything but raise the occasional smile. Part of the reason it is even slightly funny is due to the good work from Cedric the Entertainer. He isn't great here but he does manage to get laughs from the poor material he is given to deliver. Bow Wow is hardly much of a draw but aside from being an annoying rapper cliché in the making, he does do well alongside Cedric. Williams is an OK actress but here she has nothing to do she has no laughs and she is betrayed by the script when it comes to the serious side of the film. Knowles looks sexy but that's it nothing more than that; likewise Soleil is a 'cute kid' and nothing more. Harvey is so poor that I actually wondered if he was the reason that the whole 'family contest' thing was pushed into such a small part of the film.
Overall this is a very average film at best. The plot is terrible at points and just annoyed me in the way that it seemed to just write-off the entire affair in the final section. The laughs come mainly from Cedric who does OK considering the very broad material he has to work with (and with little support from his co-stars). It's good that it more or less avoid the lazy racist stereotyping inherent in the 'black comedy' genre but it would have been nice if they'd replaced it with something worthwhile.
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