Kingdom Come

"Good"

Kingdom Come Review


Director Doug McHenry strikes an impressively deft balance between slapstick and subtlety, satire and sincerity in the dysfunctional family funeral comedy "Kingdom Come."

Combining earnestly conflicted devotion with over-the-top raillery in much the same way "All In the Family" once did, the story concerns a clan called the Slocumbs gathering in their rural home town to say goodbye to an irascible patriarch. Daddy Bud, as he was known, was so universally disliked that his wife (Whoopi Goldberg) actually wants his headstone engraved with the eulogy "mean and surly."

The dead man's eldest son Ray Bud (LL Cool J) was probably closest to him, but his most vivid memory is of Daddy Bud ridiculing him over his drinking problem -- a problem he licked some time ago, although the stress of the funeral may cause a relapse.

Driving to town in a smoking beater of a junk yard sedan is younger son Junior (Anthony Anderson), the failed inventor/entrepreneur of a driveway polisher (?!?), who now lives in a trailer park with a constantly sassing harpy wife (Jada Pinkett Smith) and an unruly brood of hyperactive rugrats.

Rounding out the kinfolk is Daddy Bud's sister (Loretta Devine), who spends her time spouting scripture, passing judgement on everyone's lives, especially that of her do-nothing son (Darius McCrary), who is happy coasting through life on welfare.

Uniformly honest and affectionate performances engage the audience in the lives of this realistic ensemble, and the family dynamic rings admirably true as everyone struggles with mixed feelings about the not-so-dearly departed and about each other.

But what makes "Kingdom Come" so very entertaining is its carefully constructed cavalcade of crafty humorous asides and outright outrageous moments of screwball comedy.

Anderson and Pinkett Smith are an over-the-top riot as the quarrelsome trailer-trash couple, and their exaggerated antics are reinforced with astute little details that make their characters seem all the more true to life. Example: Pinkett Smith -- whose precision screwball performance is half Lucille Ball, half reptile -- clearly hasn't shaved her pits in a couple weeks.

But "Kingdom Come" isn't all about this currently fashionable brand of full-volume comedy. McHenry seems to have a sixth sense about which laughs to overplay, like letting Pinkett Smith chew scenery with ravenous aplomb, and which to underplay. Lots of hearty giggles come from the smallest details, like the funeral minister's lisp or the very brief shot of the hearse after it's been TP-ed by Smith and Anderson's uncontrollable children.

Even when this movie is at its most outrageous, however, all the Slocumbs still feel like real people with depth and soul. LL Cool J, playing a mechanic, has surprisingly solid blue-collar credibility. Vivica A. Fox strikes exactly the right tone as his wife, the family peacekeeper. Whoopi Goldberg -- who is a very hit-and-miss actor -- gives a steady, earnest turn as the matriarch who does not mince words.

Adapted from the play "Dearly Departed" by its original writers David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, "Kingdom Come" is a movie of nuances that I can't do justice to without describing entire scenes or spoiling jokes that out of context just won't make you laugh out loud like they will in the picture. I feel like I've done a disservice by not describing the film better in this review, but I don't know what else to say except, go see it. You'll be pleasantly surprised.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 11th April 2001

Box Office USA: $22.6M

Budget: $3M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Production compaines: Matchbox Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 46

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Ryan Barrett as Sam, Camille Hollett-French as Jessica, Jason Martorino as Daniel, William Foley as Charles

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.