Cube’s comedy first ’08 flop

Chris Kallio

First Sunday

Starring Ice Cube, Katt Williams, Tracy Morgan

Directed by David E. Talbert

Distributed by Screen Gems

Rated PG-13 Runtime 98 min.

Stater rating (out of five): **

It’s January, the worst month in the entire year. The pessimism I possess about this month is primarily based on the fact that January is the time when studios dump their worst selection into theaters. Thus, January brings the misery of dreadful movies. This brings us to First Sunday, first-time director David E. Talbert’s terrible comedy about a church robbery.

Sunday is about two long-time friends, Durell (Ice Cube) and LeeJohn (Tracy Morgan), and their difficult financial situations that provoke their idea to rob a local church. The church raised thousands of dollars to either renovate the building and be involved in community-outreach programs or simply move. While LeeJohn’s motivation is simply the joy of money, Durell’s is more profound: He is in a desperate situation to come up with $7,000 in order to prevent his ex-lover from taking his son to Georgia to live with her grandmother. As comedy would demand, their poorly-laid plan goes awry as they find that they are in the church with parishioners, unable to find the money.

First Sunday is painfully unfunny. I did not laugh once, nor did I smirk; well, maybe once, but only slightly. One probably could not count it as a smirk. I can’t remember which scene it was — it’s a rather forgettable film. Cube and Morgan as a comedy team — the former being the straight-man and the latter being the clown — do not work well together, primarily because of Morgan. Singing “Lovin’ You” was funny when Eddie Murphy did it, but agonizing when Morgan did it. While Tracy Morgan was funny on “Saturday Night Live” and has currently proven successful on TV’s “30 Rock,” he is the primary source for the anger an audience member would have watching this movie, although Katt Williams does provide decent competition.

Parts of the film deal with the realism of the lack of better options for many in urban areas, the loss of purpose, and the hope of forgiveness, faith and redemption.

Overall, however, these messages are visualized through unfunny means and are surrounded by dumb jokes, hackneyed stereotypes and Tracy Morgan in his underwear. I could go on to further describe how the film does not work — its meager dialogue, shiftless raise of stakes and unfunny situations — but I think I have been sufficient in not recommending this movie. The bottom line: try to catch a just-released fall movie like Atonement or There Will Be Blood.

Contact all reporter Chris Kallio at [email protected].