Movie Review: First Sunday (2008)

Do you remember the days when Ice Cube was a tough guy, gangster rapper with N.W.A.? How about when he crossed over into the world of cinema with the critically acclaimed Boyz n the Hood? If you don’t recall any of those times, then you’ve clearly missed out on the best of what he has to offer. His latest, First Sunday, is already, in my humble opinion, in the running for the worst movie of 2008.

The reason is so simple – it is unfunny and completely unoriginal. As a matter of fact it is very nearly a copy of Friday (Cube’s crowning comedic achievement and one of the funnier movies made in the past 15 years). This time instead of teaming up with Chris Tucker and getting chased through the hood for drug money, he’s on the run with Tracy Morgan due to a wheelchair scam gone wrong. The solution they concoct is to rob a local church and use the ill-gotten proceeds to pay off their “business partner” and to stop Durell’s (Cube) ex-wife from taking his son to Atlanta.

As if you couldn’t imagine it before I said it, the robbery doesn’t go as planned and Durell and LeeJohn (Morgan) find themselves holding an eclectic mix of church heads and patrons against their will as they try and locate the weekend’s donations. Director, David E. Talbert, tries to use this ensemble cast of church-goers consisting of Katt Williams, Chi McBride, Michael Beach, Loretta Devine and Malinda Williams to cover-up the fact that there is no real substance to First Sunday. First he tries to offset the inane banter between the main characters with one-liners and overly gay antics by Williams. Some of moments are funny (Williams is a great standup comedian) but mostly they’re just sad space fillers. When that has all but played itself out he then tries to cast an enlightening tone with the movie by throwing in heart-to-heart moments that try to establish that these guys aren’t bad people, they’re just victims of circumstance. With his three models in place, Talbert simply repeats the formula, ad nauseum.

Now even though First Sunday is clearly lacking in anything substantive, it does at least try and deliver a good message. Durell gets pulled into this ridiculous scenario, not because he’s a worthless prick, but because he desperately wants to remain close to his son (I’m not going to debate whether spending 20-years to life in prison is infinitely worse than having his son move away – it is). The movie also tries to emphasize the concept of giving everyone a second chance — whether it is with the judge not throwing the book at Durell and LeeJohn even after seeing them in his courtroom countless times or the church congregation reaching out to help them after their ordeal.

But even with these feel-good overtones snaking their way through the film, First Sunday is a bona fide disaster. The bulk of the movie is clueless and even more damning, lifeless. It turns out to be more of a vehicle for Ice Cube to give more menacing looks than you can shake a stick at and for Tracy Morgan to try and recapture what Lorne Michaels saw in him to cast him in SNL (I’d love to know what he saw in him). Aside from Katt Williams dropping a funny line now and again, there isn’t a single redeeming quality about this film. Instead of watching this, I’d recommend doing anything else that spans approximately 1½ hours – it’ll be time better spent.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
1 Star Rating: Stay Away


Movie Review: 27 Dresses (2008)
Movie Review: Juno (2007)

The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: First Sunday (2008)' have 13 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 17, 2008 @ 4:42 pm Free Blog Reviews

    I have just bookmarked your blog for a future review, please check back often and I will comment here when it is posted.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 18, 2008 @ 12:00 am Tristan

    Great review! 9/10 awesome job.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 18, 2008 @ 5:10 am Leia-Ann

    Thanks for wading through this horror on our behalf, I can just imagine the pain it must have caused you. You are truly a hero, why don’t you have a Purple Heart yet? You’re taking enough pain for it…

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 18, 2008 @ 7:56 am General Disdain

    You are truly a hero, why don’t you have a Purple Heart yet?

    I’m sensing sarcasm . . .

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 18, 2008 @ 11:25 am Phil

    I think Ice Cube has built himslef a strong following so I don’t think people are seeing the movie based on its merits. 17 million on opening weekend attests to that.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 18, 2008 @ 5:08 pm Emma

    So I’m thinking that I won’t be bothering to go and see this film. And I’m also thinking that I’ll be checking in fairly regularly now to avoid future horrors. Thanks for doing this!

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 20, 2008 @ 9:15 pm Jay

    I think now a days, movies must really put out a great trailer to get folks to the movies (high price). I would not have gone to see this movie, and now you verified that, thanks for the review.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 23, 2008 @ 1:55 pm giovanni

    ice cube is really not a good actor…

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 24, 2008 @ 8:51 am General Disdain

    I think Ice Cube has built himslef a strong following so I don’t think people are seeing the movie based on its merits.

    True. Movie still sucks though.

    ice cube is really not a good actor…

    He has his moments. This clearly isn’t one of them.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 25, 2008 @ 5:26 am babus

    snoop dog is great actor!

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 4, 2008 @ 8:15 am backgammon

    The movie’s total lack of focus and it is non impressive script should render it totally unwatchable. Weirdly, that doesn’t quite happen. There’s something endearing about these characters…

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 12, 2009 @ 2:23 am New York

    Well Sorry guys. But I think I enjoy this movie. Its not the good but you can spent not a bad time at all.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 5, 2010 @ 2:43 pm Kate The Portrait Artist

    I can only imagine how bad this movie was based on his other incarnations. Phew! I have rescued another 90 minutes of my life – may be I’ll spend it watching England loose another world cup.

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