out of Five
Running time: 98
Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan make a likeable comic duo, but First Sunday never quite works, thanks to a patchy, unconvincing script and a disappointing lack of decent gags.
What's it all about?
First Sunday stars Ice Cube as Durrell Washington, an ex-petty criminal trying to do the right thing, despite the more criminally-inclined intentions of his idiotic best friend LeeJohn (Tracy Morgan). When he learns that his ex-girlfriend (Regina Hall) will move to another state with his son unless he can come up with the $17,000 she needs to save her salon, Durrell reluctantly allows himself to get roped into LeeJohn's latest scheme.
Unfortunately, LeeJohn's plan backfires and the boys find themselves in even more debt to local gangsters. In desperation, they decide to rob the local church, but during the break-in they discover that someone has beaten them to the punch, so they hold the members of a church meeting hostage in order to discover what happened to the cash.
Anyone familiar with Tracy Morgan's work as thinly-veiled-version-of-himself Tracy Jordan on TV's 30 Rock could be forgiven for expecting something along the lines of the show's mock-Jordan vehicle, Honky Grandma Be Trippin'. Fortunately, First Sunday isn't nearly as bad as that, though Morgan's performance isn't remotely different from his 30 Rock character, so at least there's a minor treat for 30 Rock fans.
Similarly, Ice Cube has proven his comic credentials elsewhere but he's largely wasted here – they don't even give him a decent angry scene.
Ice Cube and Morgan make a likeable comic duo and the film starts well enough but quickly goes off the rails once the burglary gets underway. Sadly, the under-written script never seems to know where it's going and the already-weak plot eventually collapses under the weight of too many unfunny supporting characters (step forward Katt Williams, as choir director Rickey) and an overload of sickly sentimentality.
Despite Ice Cube and Morgan's best efforts, this is let down by a badly written script and a severe lack of laughs.