Film

Film

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When buttoned-down dad Nate Johnson (Cedric the Entertainer) gets a call from his Jesus/JFK-loving mama saying it’s family reunion time, he bundles his pulchritudinous clan—estranged wife Vanessa Williams, jailbait daughter Solange Knowles, nappy-headed son Bow Wow, and tyke Gabby Soleil—into the Burberry-upholstered minivan for a week-long road trip from L.A. to Missouri. Exactly why this mid-affluent family (that occupies not one but two SoCal bi-levels) doesn’t simply fly is never explained, though we know that it’s so they can quarrel, stew, reconcile, and bond, in approximately that order. The movie contains exactly two chuckle-worthy moments (Solange’s dig at her more famous sister’s belly button, and a late-hour OnStar snafu). The rest is UPN-esque family affirmation that would fail even that network’s quality-control standards. Like Bow Wow’s exasperated upstart, you too will be asking, “Are we there yet?” not 20 minutes in. —DAVID NG


So amateurish that its awkward Whoopi Goldberg cameo actually adds a touch of class, Showboy is an ill-conceived, often implausible hybrid of fact and fiction—”faction,” actually, according to the press notes, which also cite Dogme ’95 as a major influence without cracking a smile. It’s almost charming that this sporadically campy film, which plays like Curb Your Enthusiasm directed by Ed Wood, got made at all. Christian Taylor co-wrote, co-directed, and stars as a fictionalized version of himself, a newly fired Six Feet Under writer who treks to Vegas, documentary crew in tow, to start over as a cabaret dancer in a classic showbiz midlife crisis involving stripping, liposuction, and dog poo. Not quite bad enough to attain cult-classic status, Showboy nevertheless wears its gracelessness on its sleeve. —AKIVA GOTTLIEB