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JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION

BY RUMSEY TAYLOR

Nate Johnson (Cedric the Entertainer) drives across the street to pick up his wife (Vanessa Williams) and children prior to a family reunion several states away. Itís supposed to be a joke that the estranged pair live this close to each other; this is marital dissolution employed for laughs. As the pair invariably copes with their separation on the way to Missouri, first-time director Christopher Erskin is keen to fulfill each fundament of the Road Trip Comedy: there is a chase sequence, a mischievous hitchhiker (Shannon Elizabeth), and a night for all in the slammer. For Nate this reunion is an annual opportunity to compete for his motherís pride against his brother (Steve Harvey) ó literally, the coveted Family of the Year trophy is at stake, and it is won via sack races and choreographed dancing. Since the outcome of this final contest is easily predictable, Johnson Family Vacation affords the viewer a single offering of suspense in wondering just how the mode of transportation (a very souped-up Lincoln) will be destroyed. (95 minutes)


Issue Date: April 9 - 15, 2004
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