First Sunday (review)

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Apparently, it’s now okay to commit serious felonies like robbery with breaking and entering along with kidnapping at gunpoint as long as you have a really, really good reason, preferrably a faux heartwarming one, like so that your son doesn’t have to move away with your “baby momma” to a distant city. It’s a bonus if you can’t get a real, noncriminal job because you’ve got felony convictions, because that just proves that society is out to get the black man and what choice do he have but holding up a church for its new-roof money? Throw in some references to Uncle Tom and Rosa Parks and MLK — all the better if they’re total non sequiturs like “I didn’t kill the dream!” shouted at a random moment — and you’ve got the stuff of stupid, nonsensical, incoherent, incompetent storytelling guaranteed to offend anyone who cares about the integrity of concepts such as justice, morality, and being responsible for one’s own behavior. Oh, but it’s Ice Cube (Are We Done Yet?) and Tracy Morgan (The Longest Yard), so it must be hilarious! No. Even worse than the cartoons they play are the churchgoers they hold hostage, who suffer from the worst case of Rapid Onset Stockholm Syndrome I’ve ever seen: screenwriter and director David E. Talbert may have intended to show that faith and Godliness leads to forgiveness and charity, but all he’s done is show up religion as a sop for the weak and unprincipled.

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