A dysfunctional family gathers together for their first Christmas since their mom died.
Writer/Director David Talbert, who is known for his humorous stage plays that revolve around the black family and their internal trials and tribulations, has definitely scored a winner by teaming up with producer Will Packer, who has also been successful in producing the wildly popular “Ride Along” and “Think Like A Man” films series. Adding a star-studded cast with the likes of Danny Glover, Omar Epps, Kimberly Elise, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union and Nicole Ari Parker, just solidifies the foundation of raw talent that brings perspective and range to the scattered elements that come together in a big way throughout the film.
For years Walter (Danny Glover) and his wife have hosted Christmas Dinner for their four grown children Rachel (Gabrielle Union), Cheryl (Kimberly Elise), Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie T. Usher) and their families with a lavish table full of entrées that she has perfected throughout the years. Unfortunately, ten months earlier the matriarch passed away which leads into the first Christmas Holiday without her. While each family member struggles with their own personal loss, they bring their additional dysfunction to the family outing, hoping to have a wonderful time together in spite of the drama-filled burdens they have carried from the past. Walter’s only wish to have five days of bliss is destroyed when every single day, there is massive chaos amongst the siblings as each member’s vulnerability is exposed and put on blast for the family to capitalize upon.
Comedienne and actress Mo’Nique is the heavyweight of the movie in her role as the sister-in-law who throws punches every time she opens her mouth. As the self-imposed truth-teller of the family, she casts a critical eye towards every member (from the adults to the grandchildren) who doesn’t appreciate her spunkiness and overbearing spirit. Danny Glover is outstanding as well as the patriarch of the family whose quiet spirit speaks volumes as he desperately tries to keep his wife’s spirit alive in an ill-attempt to reproduce her famous dishes without the recipes, while at the same time, trying to keep the family members from killing each other before Christmas. Truly unforgettable though is the reprisal of the “Love & Basketball” role between Omar Epps and Gabrielle Union. Every member of the cast does a great job carrying the weight of their roles with humor mostly and more importantly with compassion in the end. This movie comes highly recommended for the entire family during this holiday season and for the invaluable lessons and timely reminder that humor is always a great healer in times of despair and disillusion.
In theaters Friday, November 11th