Road to Nowhere
Watching the Travel Channel last week while waiting on the
World Poker Tour, I caught the end of "Cedric the Entertainer's
St. Louis"--which looks like a lot more fun than the
St. Louis I know. To us Kansas City types, St. Louis is a
yuppie hellhole with some expensive strip bars across the
Mississippi River. But to Cedric the Entertainer, St. Louis
is like...Kansas City. It's got soul and flavor; the best
part is Cedric hitting the good jazz clubs. All both of them
in St. Louis. This must explain why in Johnson Family Vacation,
CtheE drags his family to the bootheel of Missouri to Caruthersville,
Missouri. I've been to Caruthersville, and I thought I had
a beat on what kind of town it is--you know, typical Missouri
small town, just across the river from Tennessee. You could
set a broad family comedy here, but like any other small town
in Missouri, you could also set a serial killer movie there
too. We're just that kind of state.
Johnson Family Vacation leaves me with one question: Does
CtheE think that his time's almost up, better cash in now?
First off, this Black Griswold character doesn't make any
sense: In the beginning of the movie, C is a completely sold
out insurance rep-- playing a white stereotype. And then when
his wife (Vanessa Williams) starts giving him trouble, C busts
out the Blackness, playing another stereotype--he wants to
fight her weakling "study date", or take out crooked
mechanics, or casino-owning Indians that want to fuck his
daughter, who is hot enough to be Beyonce's sister. Whoa!
The imdb says that she actually is Beyonce's sister. But I
digress--the rule here is this, Cedric: Find one stereotype
and stick to it. Don't confuse the audience by trying to be
Wayne Brady and Bernie Mac in the same movie. Or ABC's
Wayne Brady and Dave Chapelle's Wayne Brady, if you see my
And then there's Lil Bow Wow in the Rusty role. Yes, he gets
to rap--at the end, when the gang lands in Caruthersville.
(If there's a Johnson Family European Vacation, will Bow Wow
play Black Rusty again? For consistency's sake, I hope not.)
I guess this movie is supposed to be about CtheE and Vanessa
Williams really loving each other and getting back together,
but I don't have any idea why they would be together in the
first place. First off, Radio Shack has informed us that Vanessa
is married to Rick Fox, a Laker who can't shoot, but on the
plus side probably knows whether or not Kobe really did it.
Vanessa Williams is just gorgeous, so no offense to CtheE,
but she's out of your league, bro! She's Vanessa f'n Williams!
Most of the gags revolve around CtheE being horny, which
explains Shannon Elizabeth's appearance and why this is such
a delightful family comedy. She's a hitchhiker, and as it
turns out, a Satanist. But C thinks it's a good idea to shack
her up in the hotel with the fam. And then he fights a giant
rat she uses to conduct Satanic rituals. And then they leave
her at the hotel. I guess. After she bounces around the movie
in skimpy tops. What the hell is going on in this movie?
Ok, so finally the crew makes it to Caruthersville. If I'm
following them correctly, they drive I-44 right through Springfield.
Which would boost our minority population by a full 5% for
the five minutes it takes to drive by here. They've battled
SUV problems, and Bow Wow had to take a pee in a bottle, which
C almost drinks. No wonder Vanessa hates him. Thankfully,
Steve Harvey is waiting on them in Caruthersville. Like I
said, I've been to Caruthersville, and I don't exactly remember
seeing anything like this: The Johnson Family "Family
of the Year" is decided by a sack race and a variety
show competition. To be fair, I've never been to the Caruthersville
City Park, which is filled with Johnsons, and this is where
you can insert your own joke. Steve Harvey hits on Vanessa
Williams, and then CtheE and Steve Harvey's mother (they're
brothers in the movie) talks about how much she hates Vanessa
Williams. What the hell is she talking about? He's a fat dancing
fool, and she's been in Playboy and is married to a Laker.
There's "Missouri Values" (thank you John Ashcroft),
and then there's Missouri Values. My Missouri Moral Compass
reads that being married to Vanessa Williams is a good thing,
especially when you're from Caruthersville--no offense to
the fine folks of Caruthersville, of course. So Vanessa all
of a sudden wants to be the mommy of the Johnson Family of
the Year, and so they all dance around while Bow Wow raps.
In the Caruthersville City Park, with all these Johnsons jumping
around by this elaborate stage. Steve Harvey gets mad, which
would have been a perfect opportunity to drop Uncle Bernie
Mac and Nephew Hughley into the mix and let the movie get
really crazy. Instead, CtheE dresses up like Eddie from Barbershop
and pretends to be a randy automechanic. Then they leave Caruthersville
and go back to California. The end. And this movie has been
in the top ten for three weeks and has made $25 million dollars.
God bless America, and God bless Missouri.