First Sunday David E. Talbert

First Sunday David E. Talbert
When the ghetto stumbles into the church, stock homophobia, fat jokes and unearned emotional catharsis are on the docket. First Sunday is loud and incompetently assembled, featuring mid-sentence cuts, medium close-ups of torsos and film sets that appear to have been stolen from high school theatre productions. The only amusement found in this middling comedy comes unintentionally when emotional revelations rear their awkward head in the third act. Best friends and bumbling criminals Durell Washington (Ice Cube) and Lee John Jackson (Tracy Morgan) decide to rob a church when Durell’s pissy ex-wife Omunique (Regina Hall) threatens to take away their son if he cannot come up with 17,000 dollars. Inevitably the plan backfires and turns into a hostage situation involving Pastor Arthur Mitchell (Chi McBride), his voluptuous daughter Tianna (Malinda Williams) and an effeminate choir director (Katt Williams). Through the good of mankind and the mysterious wonder of the lord, these very different people come to learn a great deal about each other and themselves. Despite their best intentions, the relatively talented cast just can’t seem to elevate the material. Chi McBride is much more amusing while coasting around with Chuck and the bi-curious pie-maker, and Tracy Morgan’s style of comedy is more effective when written by Miss Liz Lemon. Churchy sentimentality is no match for meeting Sharon Stone while poopin’ in the ladies room at the Ivy. The gag reel on the DVD is somewhat more agreeable, showing more of the cast’s natural comedic talent than the inept staginess throughout the film. The DVD also boasts a featurette called "Hood Robbin’” where at least two actors are visibly stoned while talking about the complexity of their characters. It’s gold. There is also an actor interview where it’s implied that Mr. Talbert didn’t really know what to do behind the camera at times, getting help from master auteur Ice Cube. (Sony)