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"JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION"
(2004) (Cedric the Entertainer, Bow Wow) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Heavy Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Mild Heavy Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Moderate Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A family must deal with various trials and tribulations as they drive halfway across the country to attend a reunion.
PLOT:
Nate Johnson (CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER) is an insurance agent who's had better times. Not only has he been separated from his wife, Dorothy (VANESSA WILLIAMS), for three months, but his teenage daughter, Nikki (SOLANGE KNOWLES), has also grown up too fast, son D.J. (BOW WOW) wants to be a rapper, and preteen Destiny (GABBY SOLEIL) is fixated on her imaginary dog.

Nevertheless, Nate is looking forward to driving from their Los Angeles neighborhood to their family reunion in Missouri. Of course, that not only means a road trip halfway across the country to see his mother, Glorietta (ALOMA WRIGHT), but also having to deal with his competitive brother, Mack (STEVE HARVEY), who's determined to win the family of the year award again this year. Then there's lecherous Uncle Earl (CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER) who's always had his eye on Dorothy.

Despite the best intentions, one thing after another goes wrong on the trip, from picking up the wrong type of hitchhiker in the form of Chrishelle Rene Babineau (SHANNON ELIZABETH) to disregarding the law. As they continue on their quest, Nate hopes to arrive on time and hopefully spend some quality time with his family.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some sexual references, crude humor and brief drug material.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER plays an insurance salesman who hopes to bond with his kids and estranged wife on their cross-country road trip, but nearly lets his desire to beat his brother in a family competition get the better of him. He also plays Uncle Earl, the family's lecherous auto mechanic relative who won't leave Dorothy alone.
  • VANESSA WILLIAMS plays his estranged wife who's just about had enough of him and is going back to school to get her CPA.
  • SOLANGE KNOWLES plays their teenager daughter who's into wearing skimpy attire.
  • BOW WOW plays her younger brother, a teenager happy with their new SUV but not particularly their cross-country trip in it.
  • GABBY SOLEIL plays his younger sister who's preoccupied with her imaginary dog.
  • SHANNON ELIZABETH plays a wild hitchhiker who's into witch-like incantations, comes on to Nate and appears to be into drugs (her drug pipe falls out into the SUV).
  • STEVE HARVEY plays Nate's ultra-competitive brother who only wants to win the reunion competition between them.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of some slang terms for sex and a handful of mild expletives, while colorful phrases and various instances of sexually related dialogue are present. Some women wear revealing attire, while others come on to a nude man in a hot tub who later stands nude in front of a family (we don't see anything). An erection joke is present, while a song has sexually related lyrics.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while several instances of crude humor are present. Some characters have drinks, while a drug pipe is seen and referenced, and various forms of imitative behavior are present. Some characters hit or struggle with others (played for comedy), while other physical contact occurs, and some tense family material includes brotherly competition and a father and mother who are separated and living in separate houses.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Nate asks a hotel clerk if they have any champagne. She says no, but we then see that she has diet champagne and he takes some to Dorothy in a hot tub (both have it).
  • We see various miscellaneous women carrying drinks.
  • Chrishelle's drug pipe falls out in the family SUV.
  • A cop shows Chrishelle's "reefer pipe" that they found in Nate's SUV (that earlier fell out). Destiny then says that mommy said not to talk to drug dealers.
  • Uncle Earl tells others just to bring him back a 6-pack of beer in exchange for fixing their SUV.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Crude humor includes the following:
  • We hear farting and diarrhea type sounds coming from a bathroom stall (prompting Nate to state that it smells like the circus came to town). Nate then sees the restaurant's cook come out and exit without washing his hands.
  • D.J. tells his dad that he really has to stop and use the bathroom, but Nate tells him to hold it. D.J. can't and thus grabs a soda cup, urinating in it (we hear but don't see that). Realizing he can't throw the cup out the window, he places it back in the cup holder. Moments later, Nate reaches for it and nearly drinks from it, but then throws it out the window where it flies back and lands on a motorcycle cop, soaking him.
  • When Uncle Earl hears about gas (meaning the SUV is out of it), he jokingly talks about trying a relative's pinto beans.
  • There's talk of one of the brothers in the past putting Pepto Bismol into the Kool-Aid, resulting in diarrhea for everyone (not seen).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Nate jokingly says that the last time he saw Dorothy's brother "he was your sister" and then talks in a stereotypically gay fashion.
  • Nate throws D.J.'s CD's out of the window while driving down the road (justifying it by saying they're all people who were shot). This prompts D.J. to do the same to Nate's CDs.
  • A semi won't let Nate's SUV pass. As a result, Nate races around it on the wrong side of the road and races his fist at the driver. That driver then repeatedly bumps the back of Nate's SUV, causing their luggage to fall out and be run over.
  • Nate says he wants to see real Indians at a casino that formerly was an old-fashioned tourist trap. A worker somewhat dresses up like one and then gives Nate a stereotypical feather headdress that Nate puts on and then makes stereotypical Indian sounds.
  • Nate speeds up rather than slows down to help a nun whose vehicle is broken down. He then stops, however, to pick up Chrishelle who's hitchhiking (only because she's pretty).
  • Chrishelle steals things from inside the SUV.
  • When asked to say the prayer before eating, Chrishelle starts like normal but then goes into some sort of witch-like talk.
  • Nate throws Dorothy's day planner out the window (since it has another guy's telephone number in it) and it knocks the radar gun from a cop's hand.
  • Nate thinks he can get out of a speeding and littering ticket since both he and the cop who's pulled him over are black. He then calls the motorcycle cop a chocolate CHIP.
  • Uncle Earl repeatedly comes on to Dorothy, despite her obviously not liking it.
  • Mack refers to Nate as "momma's little mistake down at the lake."
  • Mack and his family dress up like a stereotypical Chinese family during a talent show performance, resulting in Nate saying that Mack is "looking like nappy Chan."
  • Mack has a bad attitude for only being obsessed with winning the family of the year award trophy and being highly competitive with and disrespectful to Nate.
  • Dorothy and her mother-in-law don't get along.
  • An adult male student becomes increasingly obsessed with Dorothy.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • As Nate and Dorothy sleep in the same bed, we see something at the room vent and then a reptilian tale sliding beneath the covers. It turns out to be a small alligator that repeatedly bites at Nate. He eventually grabs and struggles with it, banging its head on a counter and then trying to drown it in a bathtub (which D.J. says obviously won't work). After the initial "suspense," this is all played for laughs.
  • A large tow truck stops near the family's SUV and some suspenseful music plays as we see only parts of the driver as he approaches, carrying a large wrench (but it turns out to be Uncle Earl).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A cop zaps Nate with an electronic zapper.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Gonna trip," "Whack," "Oh snap," "Dang," "One hell of a bellboy," "What the hell?" "See this fool," "Sucker," "Shut up," "I don't care where the hell you gotta be," "You trippin'" and "Looking like nappy Chan."
  • D.J. uses various slang terms that some kids might want to imitate.
  • Nikki wears various forms of revealing attire, including various midriff revealing tops.
  • Nate goes wild with a baseball bat (swinging it around in a comedic fashion) to intimidate a guy he thinks is hitting on Dorothy.
  • Nate throws D.J.'s CD's out of the window while driving down the road (justifying it by saying they're all people who were shot). This prompts D.J. to do the same to Nate's CDs.
  • Nate says he wants to see real Indians at a casino that formerly was an old-fashioned tourist trap. A worker somewhat dresses up like one and then gives Nate a stereotypical feather headdress that Nate puts on and then makes stereotypical Indian sounds.
  • Chrishelle hitchhikes.
  • When asked to say the prayer before eating, Chrishelle starts like normal but then goes into some sort of witch-like talk.
  • Nikki has a pierced nostril with a small stud in it.
  • Some miscellaneous women at the reunion show cleavage, while others wear midriff-revealing tops.
  • There's talk of one of the brothers in the past putting Pepto Bismol into the Kool-Aid, resulting in diarrhea for everyone (not seen).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of comedy-based suspenseful music plays in several scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Nate sings along with lyrics from a song that repeats, "We can do it tonight."
  • A lyric has something about a girl arching her back, then something about her hips, and more sexually related lyrics follow, while the word "damn" is used in one.
  • Other songs had lyrics that we couldn't hear or understand, thus offering the possibility of them potentially containing additional objectionable material.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 slang terms for sex ("do it" and "doing the nasty"), 5 hells, 3 damns, 1 crap and 1 use each of "For God's sakes," "Lord" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Commenting on the music that D.J. likes, Nate says that with all the "rub me, lick me and suck me" that one needs to wear a condom just to listen to it.
  • Nikki wears a bra-like top that shows cleavage.
  • Nikki wears a short skirt and a midriff-revealing top that shows cleavage.
  • When the kids get the impression that their mother is seeing another adult student, Stan, one of them says, "You didn't tell me momma was creepin" while their father was sleeping.
  • Dorothy seductively tells Nate that there's nothing she wouldn't do for a hot bath. That prompts him to make a U-turn back to a hotel where he checks the family in.
  • After Nate tells a hotel clerk to charge a bathing suit to his room, she says, "You got it." After looking him over, she enthusiastically says, "Yes he does."
  • While in a hot tub with Dorothy, Nate tells her that maybe they can do that thing they used to do in their Jacuzzi. She then replies that she's not getting her hair wet (a possible underwater oral sex reference). Nate then says they can do it there or back in their room and reminds her that it's been 3 months (since they had sex). Dorothy then lists places where that could take place and then whispers something in his ear, prompting him to ask, "In here?" She then reaches down and pulls off his swim trunks (in the hot tub) and he tells her it's her turn. She then gets up and leaves, hanging his suit quite a way from the tub (the clerk then comes along and removes it). Nate looks down toward the water and says, "See what you did?"
  • Moments later, he then spots various young women in bikinis walking nearby, but several older and larger women join him in the tub instead. He then jokingly tells them that if they see a "snake" that it won't bite them. As he moves to get out, those women reach out and run their hands along his body, but we don't see anything then or when he's out of the tub and trying to run back to his room while completely naked. He tries to avoid various people and nearly makes it back when a family of four (including two young kids) spot him in the lobby (we don't see anything beyond their reaction).
  • Nate says he wants to see real Indians at a casino that formerly was an old-fashioned tourist trap. A worker somewhat dresses up like one and likes what he sees in Nikki (and vice-versa). While giving driving directions, he talks about following a river south and then runs his hand down his partially bare chest toward his crotch.
  • Chrishelle suggestively comments that Nate must be a real man.
  • When some ketchup squirts out onto Nate's pants, Chrishelle enthusiastically offers to wipe it off, but Dorothy stops her.
  • As what turns out to be a small alligator crawls under a bed's sheets, Nate is surprised to see what looks like a large erection forming under the sheets over his crotch.
  • Uncle Earl suggestively tells Dorothy that he has bunk beds for them and that he can sleep on top and her on the bottom or vice-versa, saying he'll take it anyway he can get it.
  • Some miscellaneous women at the reunion show cleavage, while others wear midriff-revealing tops.
  • Mack refers to Nate as "momma's little mistake down at the lake."
  • Nate mentions Mack having some woman in the back room in the past "doing the nasty" and that's why their mother couldn't get some stains out of something.
  • Dorothy shows some cleavage.
  • A young woman with Uncle Earl shows a great deal of cleavage, all while a song lyric on the soundtrack has something about a girl arching her back, then something about her hips, and more sexually related lyrics follow.
  • Dorothy suggestively tells Nate that they have more important work to do (than worry about the broken SUV) and reminds him that it's been 3 months (since they had sex). They then rush inside the house.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Mack reminds Nate that the latter hasn't visited his mother in four years.
  • Nate tells D.J. that he and Dorothy will work things out. We then learn that the parents live in separate houses and have been separated for three months.
  • Dorothy and her mother-in-law don't get along.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Families and family trips.
  • Nate tells D.J. that he and Dorothy will work things out. We then learn that the parents live in separate houses and have been separated for three months.
  • Uncle Earl repeatedly comes on to Dorothy, despite her obviously not liking it.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A semi won't let Nate's SUV pass. As a result, Nate races around it on the wrong side of the road and races his fist at the driver. That driver then repeatedly bumps the back of Nate's SUV, causing their luggage to fall out and be run over.
  • We briefly see movie footage on TV that shows a woman jabbing a pole into some mummy-like creatures and knocking others off a precipice.
  • Nikki hits D.J. with a pillow.
  • As Nate and Dorothy sleep in the same bed, we see something at the room vent and then a reptilian tale sliding beneath the covers. It turns out to be a small alligator that repeatedly bites at Nate. He eventually grabs and struggles with it, banging its head on a counter and then trying to drown it in a bathtub (which D.J. says obviously won't work).
  • Nate throws Dorothy's day planner out the window (since it has another guy's telephone number in it) and it knocks the radar gun from a cop's hand.
  • Nate accidentally drives into the back of a cement truck (with cement pouring down onto the hood).
  • A cop zaps Nate with an electronic zapper.
  • Uncle Earl takes a jack hammer to the front of the family's concrete-covered SUV, tearing it up (while trying to "fix" it).
  • One girl pushes down another during a reunion race.
  • Nate and Mack do some brief comedy style struggling with each other.
  • A semi drives over various things at the reunion, including a large trophy.
  • Nate's mother punches Dorothy's suitor quite hard in the face. Nate and then Mack kick the unconscious man on the ground.



  • Reviewed March 31, 2004 / Posted April 7, 2004

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