Have you read the book? No? Here’s HiScrivener’s synopsis:
There’s this L.A. preacher named Albert Hall (played stoically and remarkably by Jakes), and warming his pews is a lovely couple, Dave (played by Morris Chestnut, Ricky from the iconic “Boyz N The Hood”) and Clarice (played by Taraji P. Henson, Whitney Rome from “Boston Legal”).
The two lovebirds in public are rapidly drifting apart in private, and it all started with a tragic car wreck that ruined Dave’s hopeful shot at a baseball career.
Of course, it doesn’t help that his wife is oblivious to his feelings, not at all interested in having a baby and has a mother (played by Jenifer Lewis, who used to crack me up as Aunt Helen in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) who is an emasculating wench who likes her love served up cold and bitter. Vicious!
So, in the spirit of dual-overtone compensation (both for the game and the child), Dave coaches little league baseball and hangs out with his two “bros”, the ubiquitous and overrated casanova (played by Eddie Cibrian, known as the great Jimmy Doherty on “Third Watch”) and the generic vociferous and droll second banana (played by Kevin Hart, known as the host of BET’s “One Night Stand”).
And of course, Dave is the habitual yet flimflam character who waxes philanthropic by mentoring an ex-con and harmonic by befriending… [cue horror music]… the white, single mother.
Plot plays out the way you think: Mom and wifey discover the error of their misguided ways, Hubby has a “Come to Jesus” meeting and looks at himself in the mirror (without his shirt nonetheless) and the boys chill the freak out and become the friends they should. Happily Ever After. The End.
Now, while there are obviously some redemptive messages and a universal theme that would make Jesus proud, Dave’s wife and mother-in-law are so over the top. I mean, it’s vexatious. Almost like they are both Lorena Bobbitt eagerly suiting Dave up for a good night’s sleep. Tense.
What’s refreshing is the relationship between Dave and “the white girl” is wholesome and not some surriptious means to assuage white guilt, which can be seen on oh, more than a thousand movies. News Flash: Some of us actually can and do get along! At least that is what I learned in a certain fraternity espousing brotherhood. Anywhoo…
The movie has an adept cast who can weave a verbal tapestry of comic relief, dramatic nuance and thought-provoking dialogue… if only they were given a chance throughout the entire film, which (forgive the pun) has a script that seems “broken”.
Yet, through it all, you understand needing open communication, having a tight circle of friends, maintaining introspective honesty with self and God, allowing transparency in a godly marriage and throughout it all, realizing why dogmatic truths work in a relationship. No condemnatory finger pointing, just a fleeting glance of what you can have, if only you believe in God enough to try.