Movie Review for First Sunday (2008)

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Review #596 of 365
Movie Review of First Sunday (2008) [PG-13] 96 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $3.00
Where Viewed: Harkins Ciné Capri at Northfield 18, Denver, CO
When Seen: 11 January 2008
Time: 12:20 pm
DVD Release Date: 6 May 2008 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer

Soundtrack: order the CD below

Directed by: David E. Talbert (Love on Layaway)
Screenplay by: David E. Talbert (Love on Layaway)

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Ice Cube (Are We Done Yet?) • Katt Williams (Norbit) • Tracy Morgan (Little Man) • Loretta Devine (This Christmas) • Michael Beach ("Stargate: Atlantis") • Keith David (Delta Farce) • Regina Hall (Scary Movie 4) • Malinda Williams (Daddy's Little Girls) • Chi McBride (The Brothers Solomon) • Clifton Powell (Norbit) • Nicholas Turturro (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) • Olivia Cole ("The Women of Brewster Place")

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
Click to read the spoiler points for First Sunday
It may be too early to deem a film worst of the year given that it's the 11th of January, but First Sunday has all of the makings to rank among the bottom feeders for even worst of the decade. The film is not only just plain poorly done in almost every aspect of filmmaking, the messages, social stereotypes, and retrospectively backwards themes should make this film on the most outrageous film's list—and not Borat sense of the term. Just when genius filmmaker Tyler Perry starts to make inroads into serious dramedy queued for an African-American audience but which transcend ethnic heritage and speak universal truths, this horrendously awful and regressive film starring the badly in need of a new agent, Ice Cube—this being his second 'not so great film' in a row—and Tracy Morgan—as two of the most hapless and non-role model characters ever held up as role models in a film of this kind.

…horrendously awful and regressive…
Even if this film were rated E-for everyone, I wouldn't take a kid to see this movie under any circumstances despite an ending with a heart. The film clings to the worst stereotypes and negative portrayals of people made worst given the characters are representative of a segment of the population of the USA that has historically been maligned in film. Writer / Director David E. Talbert has won accolades for his stage plays, and some have called him the next Tyler Perry. In no way does First Sunday deserve to sit along side Tyler Perry's name in the same sentence.

The pathetic story line which seems whipped up from the remnants of several bad "MAD TV" ideas that got shot down before they left the writer's lips, concerns two life-long buddies, Durell (Ice Cube) and LeeJohn (Tracy Morgan) as they escape the clutches of jail time for 5000 hours of community service at the hands of the exalted and understanding Judge B. Bennett Galloway (Keith David). They were in front of the judge again for trying to escape being pulled over by the police in a high speed chase down while attempting to deliver wheelchairs, that resulted in them losing 5 or 6 of the souped-up wheel chairs worth $1200 a piece out the back end of the messed up van LeeJohn borrowed from his cousin. During their community service time, they both realize they need a huge amount of money: LeeJohn to pay off for the lost wheel chair and Durell to pay off the rent on his ex-wife's beauty salon so she won't move his son to Atlanta where he'll never see him again. So, what better way to get the many thousands of dollars they need but to steal if from the local church. What? That's right, the local church.

Mayhem ensues inside the church when it turns out the entire staff is there in a meeting to discuss what to do with all the money they took in from their last charity event. This was an uncharacteristically bad choice for Ice Cube. He never seemed comfortable in the role. If this has been Tracy Morgan's first film, it also probably would have been his last. His performance was utterly inane from start to finish. Technically, it's not all his fault because David Talbert gets credit for some of the worst dialog ever. Worse, the film seems to last forever and gets increasingly terrible and annoying as it plods toward its inevitably predictable conclusion. What on earth were Chi McBride and Loretta Devine doing in this movie? Again, they were completely wasted talents. The only thing more horrifying than how bad this film was was how bad Katt Williams was as the church choir director. The film's one redeeming quality was Durell's love for his son. The poor message, however, is that it's justifiable to steal huge sums of money, especially from a church, as long as your motivation is to keep your son. To be fair, he cannot get a real job because his buddy LeeJohn got him arrested when LeeJohn was trying to steal their boss' plasma screen television.

This story and film might best be summed up by reciting a brief story that LeeJohn tells to explain the origin of his name.

…might better have been entitled, 'Worst' Sunday.
His mother was dating two men at the time of his delivery: one named Lee and one named John. Rickey (Katt Williams) replies, "I don't think I would have told that story." I don't think I would have told this entire story let alone that story, for it's just one of many reasons First Sunday might better have been entitled, 'Worst' Sunday.

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Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring First Sunday (2008)
Cast Members
Ice CubeKatt WilliamsTracy Morgan
Loretta DevineMichael BeachKeith David
Regina HallMalinda WilliamsChi McBride
Clifton PowellOlivia Cole
David E. Talbert
David E. Talbert

Review-lite First Sunday (2008) [max of 150 words]
Given the Oscar® contenders out from the end of year and great new films on DVD, it's quite possibly the best advice anyone could get this year not to see First Sunday. Already a candidate for worst film of the decade, the Ice Cube / Tracy Morgan vehicle written and directed by David E. Talbert is a shabby dramedy not even in the same league with Tyle Perry's work that details the life of crime of Durell (Ice Cube) and Lee John (Tracy Morgan) as they end up attempting to rob a church to get access to the money each needs to save his life. Awful dialog, terrible story, outdated, stereotypical and just plain 'not funny' should be enough warning to advise against seeing this film…maybe…ever.

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