Ma’Dere finally gets to spend Christmas with all her children after years of everyone going their own way, but everyone has a secret – even Ma’Dere.
As this average middle-class family in Los Angeles reunites, a secret wife is revealed, a cheating husband is dealt with, a surprise musician takes the stage, and a man on the run comes home. Not all plot threads were completely sewed up, but you knew that they would be very soon. The flaws and realities of human nature kept this family from being picture perfect, yet they were the perfect portrayal of how families can pull together and support each other.
Loretta Devine plays the matriarch Ma’Dere, known as Mrs. Whitfield to non-family members. Her leadership in the family is coupled with Delroy Lindo’s Joe Black. His fatherly encouragement to the youngest son, Michael “Baby” Whitfield, played by Chris Brown, keeps the bonds of support in the family strong. The loner, or should I say “loan-er” Quentin Whitfield Jr, played by Idris Elba, hides from men to whom he owes a great debt.
Regina King impacts the movie with a generous performance as Lisa Moore, the sister who tries to give all she has to everyone. Laz Alonoso, as Lisa’s husband Malcolm Moore, was a believable giver in a different way. Good job as the man we want to hate.
The Whitfield men are quite musical. Ma’Dere’s husband has left to follow his musical dreams, while Joe Black takes up the fathering duties for him. Quentin plays in a club in Chicago and hasn’t been home for four years. Baby hasn’t told his mother that his heart’s desire is music. The Whitfield women love their men, but each in a different way.
This isn’t a movie for the entire family due to several factors, but adult audiences will laugh, cry, and dance in the end.