Johnson Family Vacation (2004) Poster

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The Lost Sequel
0932216 April 2004
Spend a couple of hours with the Griswold, oops, I mean Johnson family as they take to the road for their family reunion.

Cedric the Entertainer supplies the laughs, all seven of them. A sexy female traveler inciting marital tension, being given the wrong car at the dealership, unkempt rural relatives, we've seen it all before.

But what might be the funniest thing of all about this predictable remake of National Lampoon's Vacation is that (Lil') Bow Wow has a higher billing than Vanessa Williams.

But the fact remains that if you are looking for about 90 minutes of profanity free family entertainment which, by the way, is becoming harder and harder to find these days, then maybe The Johnson Family Vacation is just what the doctor ordered.
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Cedric The Entertainer doesn't live up his name
noizyme5 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Cedric the Entertainer is a fascinating man. I first saw him on the Steve Harvey show, and those two have been playing off of each others' comedy bits for a good amount of time. They were both in the Original Kings of Comedy with Bernie Mack and D.L. Hughley, and they are back together in this cutesy-pie family flick about going to a family reunion and encountering obstacles in every manner along the way. Picture National Lampoon's Vacation minus the funny main character (Chevy Chase) and throw in plenty of urban over saturation.

This is interesting how Cedric plays such a straight character with hardly any humor (as an insurance salesman, his career before acting...a stretch, for Cedric sarcastically speaking) other than an occasional giggle at his manner of helping his family get along on this trip. Right off the bat, the movie starts heading straight to hell. Bow Wow (who was probably offered this role after his CDs stopped selling) plays a kid (who seems like he's nine) who keeps talking in -izzle terms and stereotyping right away. A quick (and pointless) cameo by Kurupt, the rapper, leads the audience down the wrong path entirely. Shannon Elizabeth was in the film briefly as a stoner/witch/hitchhiker who also wields an alligator, which was actually pretty great animating for the alligator...very creepy.

There were funny moments, like the hanging of a flat-screen TV between JFK and a picture of Jesus...pretty symbolic and funny. Also, I liked the co-star Vanessa Williams' comment on tricked out SUVs: "It looks like a purse on wheels." Also, at the end, Steve Harvey plays the brother of Cedric who wins the family reunion-competition, and when his trophy is crushed by a truck, his performance at that point was pretty funny. But that's all...

Most of the movie is based around sketch comedy and pieced together to seem like a movie. You can tell where they were trying to come up with filler for the film. There are pointless fart/urine jokes that have been overdone, a terrible CHP sequence with a jail moment and all that, and a family reunion that they know that they're going to hate, but they go anyways...FUN! :( Overall, I gave it a 4/10. It was a light-hearted movie that probably shouldn't be looked at this closely, but it does when the movie loses the audience's interest halfway through it. Don't even bother renting it; get National Lampoon's Vacation or European Vacation instead. This movie will appeal to your 10 or 11-year-old only, so beware.
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Cedric is good but the material is weak and the plot development simply lazy
bob the moo9 September 2004
It is an annual event in the wider Johnson clan to get together for a reunion of food, song and competition – a competition that is always won by Mack Johnson. Despite being separated from his wife, Nate Johnson gets his family together to attend as usual and keep up appearances. With a brand new Navigator truck and a tight time scale, the family of five set out on their road trip only to find themselves having to deal with cement, police, alligators and hitchhikers – and that's all before they get to the reunion.

I generally avoid all-black comedies; not because I am racist but because the opposite is true – and I find that many of these modern blaxploitation comedies are full of racist stereotypes and broad ethnic caricatures. With this film screening on a flight I was on I decided to watch it as I find it very difficult to sleep on planes. I was pleased to find that the film didn't base itself on racist stereotypes and the like and instead went for the more race-neutral approach of road movie broad gags a la Vacation. This is not to say that it is funnier – only easier to watch because it is less offensive to me personally. The plot is very simple but it makes the mistake of not staying simple – instead it adds subplots of separation and treats them seriously. This is a problem because it rounds them off in glib, unconvincing ways that make a joke out of ever having them in the first place – the whole issue of Nate and Dorothy working things out is a perfect example, the supposed focal point of the family contest is another one – it feels tacked on.

The film is not anywhere near as funny as it needed to be to be a good comedy. It has the odd laugh but generally the humour is so very broad and uninspired that it is hard to do anything but raise the occasional smile. Part of the reason it is even slightly funny is due to the good work from Cedric the Entertainer. He isn't great here but he does manage to get laughs from the poor material he is given to deliver. Bow Wow is hardly much of a draw but aside from being an annoying rapper cliché in the making, he does do well alongside Cedric. Williams is an OK actress but here she has nothing to do – she has no laughs and she is betrayed by the script when it comes to the serious side of the film. Knowles looks sexy but that's it – nothing more than that; likewise Soleil is a 'cute kid' and nothing more. Harvey is so poor that I actually wondered if he was the reason that the whole 'family contest' thing was pushed into such a small part of the film.

Overall this is a very average film at best. The plot is terrible at points and just annoyed me in the way that it seemed to just write-off the entire affair in the final section. The laughs come mainly from Cedric who does OK considering the very broad material he has to work with (and with little support from his co-stars). It's good that it more or less avoid the lazy racist stereotyping inherent in the 'black comedy' genre but it would have been nice if they'd replaced it with something worthwhile.
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Totally Funny
Barbella0818 April 2004
I went to See the Johnson Family Vacation with my brother and Aunt, and let me tell you, at the begining I wasn't so sure but OMG the movie just got funnier and funnier. The movie was truly a good movie to see with your family. I highly suggest that people go see it. I am telling you that you will enjoy. Steve Harvey and Cedric The Entertainer are absoulutly wonderful and Bow Wow was not bad at all. The whole cast was great. The movie is just mainly about a man (cedric) and his family who are going to attend his family reunion, which he hopes that he wins the trophy for best family. The only problem is his brother wins it every year ( Steve Harvey). So he decieds to go to Missouri and get the award the only problem is the stuff they deal with on the way. The movie is great and very entertaining. Everything about the movie was great. Well if you are looking for a very good comedy that will keep you laughing till the end then you must go see Johnson Family Vacation. You will really enjoy it.
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not funny and very bad
MLDinTN21 February 2005
This movie is simply not good. It wasn't funny and was a very lame attempt to try something similar to National Lampoon's Vacation. There's hi-jinks at the hotel pool, going out to see silly things, etc... In this, the two parents are separated but are going to the husband's family reunion with the 3 kids. Considering they only spend a couple of hours at the reunion, why did they even go? Bow Wow basically uses this role as self-promotion since he raps. And when they get to the reunion, the relatives are dull and dumb, especially uncle earl.

I can't believe any of the actors would even let their name appear in the credits. If they weren't already famous, this movie would be career suicide. Even the music is terrible.

FINAL VERDICT: A snore fest.
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National Lampoon's African American Vacation.
tfrizzell2 June 2004
Recently estranged parents Cedric the Entertainer and Vanessa L. Williams come back together to go to Cedric's family reunion. Along for the ride are their three kids (super-cool Lil' Bow Wow, super-hot Solange Knowles and super-cute Gabby Soleil) and a wide variety of mishaps and misadventures as they hit the road together in a new SUV that Cedric has borrowed from a dealership. Naturally their trip from Los Angeles to Missouri will have hilarious consequences along the way. Cedric has ulterior motives to win a "Family of the Year" prize at the reunion, getting it away from older brother Steve Harvey (in a well-timed role). He also has to contend with his mother (Aloma Wright) when he reaches his destination, but first he and his family must over-come ultra-sexy hitchhiker Shannon Elizabeth (who happens to be a black magic priestess) and even an unseen 18-wheeler driver who continues to push Cedric's buttons. "Johnson Family Vacation" is basically an African American version of the "National Lampoon's Vacation" series. Cedric and Williams have the same comedic timing and relationship that Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo shared during their long run. The kids though here are quite better than any throughout the aforementioned series. But the similarities between this movie and those from the previous series are amazing as we have an erotic stranger, a rented vehicle, a road trip, a family get-together and even a take on a Wayne Newton song. In many ways "Johnson Family Vacation" is old hat, but I still liked the film because Cedric is just such a hilarious screen presence. The others all feed off his intensity and Williams is the ultimate "straight lady" in the mix as she just seems out of place with her great looks and outstanding manners (this is a compliment to her by the way). Eventually the movie loses its way as the trip nears a close, but "Johnson Family Vacation" is still a very funny experience at the movies. Does that make it a good production? Certainly not, but it is still a legitimate rest from reality. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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A Funny and Cool film
kieran-nffc22 April 2006
This film is definitely one for somebody who has arrived late from work and wants to watch a light hearted comedy. Cedric the entertainer is very comedic especially when he disputes music with Bow wow and in the pool with all the large ladies. From start to finish from California to the family reunion there are comedic and witty moments and everything from launching urine at a policeman to running out of gas and meeting uncle earl who is also Cedric the entertainer happens. A film for everyone who loves long journeys and Solange Knowles, (I know i do). The film is alike a 'My Wife and Kids' episode and coninscidently features Jennifer Freeman. A great family film with an excellent ending
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The Johnson Family Vacation Is A Mega Hit
fatsistah7 April 2004
The Johnson Family Vacation is a mega hit. It is so refreshing that the BLACK Family is portrayed in a civilized manner. There are plenty of laughs throughout the movie without the use of profanity. I equate the movie to the Cosby Family, things happen and they get through it without lowering the image of the Black Family. What family doesn't have some dysfunctional events happen? Yes, that is what I am saying; we all can recount incidents in our family that can be related to the Johnson's. We have some big name stars in this film and we owe it to them, because they represent us, to fully support this movie. Please take your family and friends to see this movie this weekend. Let send them a message that we will stick together (Solidarity) in support of the work of our Brothers and Sisters.

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Not worth your time
RechRo27 December 2005
I expected this film to be bad, and it met my expectations. You can clearly see the effort of the filmmakers and the actors to be funny, but it just comes off as annoying. The jokes are lame. I found it difficult to merely smile. Cedric should stick to stand-up. As for Bow Wow and Solange, who told them that they could act? It's amazing this ever got made. I would have rather spent my time at the library reading up on capital punishment. Obnoxious, unfunny, just a very long headache. Exaggeration to the point of excess (even over-the-top stuff can get too ridiculous), it's just not worth it. Save your money and your dignity. Rent The Kings of Comedy instead, where Cedric shows how funny he really is.
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the voting for this movie was incomprehensible, too harsh, exaggerated
stefanmihaiv17 December 2005
This movie isn't so bad. In fact, for a comedy, for a 'light' movie, made to relax, in a Sunday afternoon, while u're watching it with your family, it's even a pretty good, funny movie. I think those who were criticized this movie so harsh, obviously were exaggerated, to say the least. I mean.. votes like 3-4..come on..Don't u think u are exaggerated? Or probably, until now, u haven't seen a REAL bad/boring movie..There are a few scenes in ''Johnson's family'' which are really funny, and this is the aim, after all. Beside, the womens, mother and daughter, are so hot..and they are playing their role pretty well..So, this was the first vote i've seen on IMDb that I think is quite incomprehensible, too harsh, exaggerated, after all, even ''gustibus no disputandum....''
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It just couldn't keep my attention
Nsuplaya0612 April 2004
Going in to this movie, I actually had high expectations for it. I don't exactly know why i did, but I figured Cedric and Steve Harvey would not let me down. Well, I was without a doubt, highly disappointed. Not only was this movie boring, but it was an overall corny movie and extremely predictable. 20 minutes in to the movie, I told the person i was with exactly what was gonna happen at the end and i was exactly right. I can count on one hand the amount of times that i even got close to laughing. Well, at least Solange was pretty sexy in the movie, but believe me, thats still not enough to make this movie good. If you value your money at all, you'll wait till this comes out on video.
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A Family Ride You Won't Want To Take
christian1231 May 2005
Johnson Family Vacation is a very stupid comedy that's really not worth watching. Cedric the Entertainer plays Nate Johnson, a family man who agrees to take his brood across country to Missouri for the annual family reunion. Can his dysfunctional family survive the trip without killing each other? The plot is very generic and the execution is nothing new. The movie is so bland that there's no reason to actually go out and see it. The cast makes this film a bit better but they don't seem to be really be trying. Cedric the Entertainer and Vanessa L. Williams both play their roles decently. Solange Knowles and Bow Wow play their kids and both don't really give memorable performances. Shannon Elizabeth was probably the best part about the film, too bad she's in it for about ten minutes. Steve Harvey has a small role as Nate's brother. Every second he is on screen though, makes the film very hard to watch as he is not funny at all. Christopher Erskin directs his first film and he can hopefully improve if he decides to make another one. The writers got very lazy in this film as most of the jokes fall flat. There may be a funny one here or there but that's not enough. This wouldn't had been problem if the running time wasn't 110 minutes. Since it is so long, there aren't enough jokes to sustain its running time. Also this film feels a lot longer then 110 minutes. When compared to other films, its better then The Cookout and Soul Plane. The National Lampoons road trip movies are a lot better and you should stick with those. In the end, this a very generic film that's not worth watching, though its pretty inoffensive. Rating 4/10, skip this unless your a die-hard fan of any of the stars involved.
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Original Vacation vs. JFV
princess003katana16 February 2005
I will not give away most of the story. But maybe the fact that I was raised on the original vacation movies, I had a hard time accepting this as a remake. I do think Cedrick the entertainer and Vanessa Williams did a great job in their roles, but the remake could never hold a candle to the original Vacation or any of the sequels for that matter. (except for Christmas vacation 2).

I did find the first part of the movie very entertaining, but I somehow got lost in the sudden change of the story, where the Johnson family Finally makes it to the reunion, and has to turn around and leave. Although, the fact that it was one wrong turn after another, and a story of a family coming together, I must give it some credit for sticking to some of the original "vacation" movie. I would not recommend it to someone who loves the original vacation movies.
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good movie surprisingly underrated. People if u could like a bad movie like Van Helsing and not appreciate a good movie like this then there is something wrong with u.
dhruvdude11 July 2004
When I saw the rating of 3.4 for JFV I was really surprised. I thought that it would at least have a rating of 6.7 or 7.0. I really hate to say it that people like crap movies like van helsing and alamo but think that this movie is bad. JFV was simply hilarious and it is a very neat and clean comedy with neat and clean humor mostly. Everyone must watch this movie with an open mind. This is for the first time black people have been treated so well on screen and I really loved it because the kind of role they are normally seen in are crackheads or drug dealers. In this movie the black family is shown as a very normal and civilized family and I really liked it. Good Job Cedric the entertainer.

My Rating 10/10
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Cute movie, good story about "Black" culture
nemesisenforcerz4 May 2004
I thought this was a cute movie. It isn't over the top funny like other "Black" comedies. It is not overbearing or anything like that. But there are some strong themes of "Black" culture in the movie. Cookouts, dances, family reunions, etc. It does a good job of making fun of the sibling competition that happens in a lot of "Black" families. Children competing for the love of their parents. I think a lot of the jokes will simply be lost on people who aren't culturally aware. I also think Cedric has to be more careful in making movies like this in the future, as they will not have mainstream appeal. But many "Black" families will love this kind of thing. The soundtrack is simply splendid, littered with old school hits. I loved it.
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Simply By The Numbers and Awful
shark-4320 August 2005
This movie is so lame, so cobbled together, so lazy that it is truly one of the worst comedies made in the past decade. Cedric might have to sell The Entertainer part of his name soon if he keeps making crap like this and The Honeymooners. I mean, give it up, you are not a LEAD. As part of an ensemble, you are terrific (as Cedric proved in Barbershop) but the first thing they do is take a live wire like Cedric and have his father character in this movie be rather straight laced and conservative. Great - yes, let's smooth over all the rough edges that make this comic interesting. Of course, the minute a gag needs him to be leering and lewd, he does. There is no character reality in ANY of the characters. Lame, obvious gags unfold like you are watching an old vaudeville routine or a Popeye cartoon. They're good, Steve Harvey's bad, so let's watch what happens. Also, there is a TERRIBLE subplot where a guy is basically stalking Cedric's wife - Vanessa Williams. And at the end when the guy shows up at the family reunion in a huge semi and basically runs over the reunion - he gets out with flowers and claiming his love for Cedric's wife. So what happens. Well, Cedric's Momma - you know those heavy set chuckling mommas that Hollywood movies have to have - well, she walks up and slugs the stalker in the face - he gets knocked out and that is their solution to the problem. Yes,let's forget that he will eventually wake up and probably be even more adamant to bother the woman but what the heck - violence solves everything - especially when it's one of those funny one punch, quick knockout punches. Hee hee. And of course, at the end everyone changes and learns a lesson not because it has been written that way for these characters to develop but only because it is the end of the movie and time for this stuff to happen anyway. So false, so not funny. Awful.
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Johnson Family Vacation
MillenniaZ2 October 2005
This was way too long of a movie. The jokes were boring. Too bad such really good actors were thrown into a pretty bad movie. If they were trying to copy National Lampoon movies, they weren't even close. More often than not, you can't do a classic justice. From the start to finish, I just couldn't get interested. I watched it hoping that it would improve, and not even the jacuzzi scene made me laugh. I've always liked Steve Harvey but his part had him acting incredibly stupid and nowhere near funny. Even in the end, he was still being stupid. It was a waste of nearly two hours. I would suggest that instead of watching this movie you read a book. Or better yet, take a walk.
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Slowly back away from Johnson Family Vacation, I repeat...
sc_6715 August 2004
Johnson Family Vacation, starring two of the kings of comedy, Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer. You would think this movie would be very funny, but it is far from funny. First off, the acting was horrible. Lil Bow Wow and Solange Knowles were absolutely awful and were probably the worst edition to the picture. Cedric the Entertainer is an hilarious comedian, but in this, is hardly ever funny except in a couple of scenes at the most. Beside that, the movie is hard to sit through. At first, you think well, maybe it just needs to get started up, but it stays a slow, boring pace the whole time. The story and acting of this movie were a huge let-down. I still can't believe the stars of this movie were involved. Trust me, stay far, far away.
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Not the family vacation gone wrong again!!
view_and_review23 February 2007
The movie would have been good except: Little Bow Wow, Bow Bow, or Big Bow Wow, whatever you want to call him, was not funny. Nor was the girl who played his sibling, nor was Vannessa Williams, and nor was Steve Harvey. Cedric the Entertainer was the only beacon of light in this failed attempt at a family comedy. The situation just didn't make for a very good comedy, especially when this scenario has already been done so well by Chevy Chase and others. The road trip/family vacation gone wrong is a very played out story. This was not the right platform for an original or successful comedy, and it was not the right platform for Cedric the Entertainer to be as his name indicates: entertaining. It was somewhat humorous and it was bearable, it is more of a "nothing else is on" type movie.
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stalls out
Buddy-5115 February 2006
In "Johnson Family Vacation," which is little more than an all-black version of the National Lampoon Vacation movies from twenty or so years ago, Nate Johnson loads his wife and three kids into the car and drives from their home in Los Angeles to a family reunion in Missouri. Along the way, of course, the family meets with a series of comic misadventures that threaten to prevent them from reaching their destination.

Despite the derivative storyline, the early scenes in the film exhibit a kind of playful spirit that bodes well for the rest of the movie. This is due in no small measure to Cedric the Entertainer, who, unlike so many of the comics who appear in these types of movies, doesn't feel the need to stand apart from the material in order to draw attention to himself. Indeed, it is the laid-back, unfussy way in which he delivers his lines that makes them so funny. He is also blessed with an attractive supporting cast that includes Vanessa Williams as his long-suffering wife and Bow Wow as his mouthy but generally good-hearted teenage son. The movie even includes some clever little satirical jabs at the accoutrements and symbols of modern-day black culture as Nate, the traditionalist, who listens to '70's soul on his worn-out 8-tracks, goes toe-to-toe with his adolescent gansta' rap adolescents.

But as the Johnsons tootle their way across country in their souped-up SUV, we begin to notice that the film itself has stalled out. About halfway through, it dawns on us that the movie isn't really going anywhere, that it is merely playing out variations on incidents we've seen earlier in the film, and that the set pieces and situations aren't nearly as interesting or outrageous as they should be. This is truly a pity because, given the attractive cast, we really want to like "Johnson Family Vacation" more than we ultimately do.

Still, all things considered, this makes for a reasonable diverting, mindless time at the movies, and Cedric the Entertainer's moniker has rarely seemed so apt.
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This movie is a waste of time.
Glitterchoke16 January 2005
When I first heard about this movie I thought 'Great, this sounds good. Its gonna be a gigantic teen hit'. Boy was I wrong. This movie is literally trash. It hardly has a plot, the jokes are all old, and everything is stereotypical. The kind of family you find on sitcoms. A stressed dad that tried to keep everything in order but fails miserably, a 5-year-old girl who is a huge fan of Chuck.E.Cheese and wax crayons, a teenage rebel who refuses to wear anything that covers her thighs and stomach at the same time, a hip-hop-worshipping teenage son with a weird way of handling his dad and a mom that allows the father to take care of everything and watches her children disrespect their dad and just smiles. Its basically a family trip where they go to see their relatives, and they go there in a flash expensive car and fall from one problem to another. They do the whole fall-from-one-problem-to-another so many times that you actually get tired and uncomfortable towards the end. This movie is boring, and you've seen or heard every single joke here before. Don't even wait for the DVD. This movie is a disgrace to the film industry. And that is all I have to say.
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african_jedi_master22 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers


1)Vanessa Williams as an older woman(minus all the Ms. America/R&B persona)

2)Cedric the Entertainer's line....All that Crenshaw crap kills the resale value

3)Bow Wow's line....Sam Cooke:Shot Marvin Gaye:Shot

4)Cedric's attempt to make a non-violent film

5)Solange Knowles' line....regarding her sister Beyonce

6)Shari Headley(Eddie Murphy's Coming to America queen)'s good to see her still working even if she's doing a second rate Janet Jackson routine


1)The script

2)Steve Harvey over acting as usual
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harvwash4 October 2004
I had printed out the earlier review, as I found it was going to be one of the in-flight movies due to be shown on a flight from Cleveland to London last week, so was forewarned that it was not one of the best films ever made. However, I had not realized that it was going to prove to be undoubtedly the most awful film I have ever seen. A truly stomach churning experience; everyone seemed to over act outrageously and all spoke at full volume the whole time. I even tried it with other language sound tracks on the aircraft sound system but nothing could improve it. I believe it was supposed to be a comedy but how anyone could find anything remotely amusing in this sorry farrago, beats me. Definitely NOT recommended!
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Should have been better
jsimon05015 April 2004
This movie should have been funnier. So many things made no sense like why Cedric insisted on talking with that ridiculous accent and why Steve Harvey refused to be funny. As a black man, I am so disappointed when a black movie just sucks.

It was a good kid movie, though, because kids don't care.

The Griswald family's first vacation is the standard for all vacation movies. However, it is not as kid friendly as Johnson Family Vacation. The hot tub scene with the 4 big girls was just begging for funny. Hitler could have gotten more laughs in that scene. Vanessa Williams could not possibly be any more beautiful, though. It was almost worth the price of admission to see her, but not quite.
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So what was the point?
RecoWilliams14 April 2004
This movie was absolutely horrible. It was really two movies into one. One movie was about the road trip, the second movie was about the family reunion that they drove 3 days for to stay 4 hours. Why not just catch a plane?

This movie is a bad rip off of National Lampoon's Vacation movies. It was hard to except Ced the Entertaniner as a well-to-do business man in Los Angeles. And it was even tougher to imagine Vanessa Williams as his wife. Go figure.

The movie does have some funny parts to it. But the plot is really stupid and it just does not flow very well.

I know that I will get backlash from my own community, blacks, for calling this "family" movie bad. But just because it is a clean black movie doesn't make it a good one.

Ced was held back so much in this movie. The way he chose to play that character was that of white guy. This movie basically says that all black men who get rich must talk white. Go figure!

And what was up with Steve Harvey's sadistic character. I beleive that he was suppose to be comic relief, but his character was underdeveloped. You really don't care about the rivlary that he and his brother Ced had. This movie had the potential to be good, but sadly they didn't optimize on it.

This is a horrible movie. Wait for the DVD.
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