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STUDIO: Warner Brothers Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
The Prodigal Experience: Reflections on a Story
The Music of The Preacher’s Kid
LeToya Luckett: A Rising Star
The Preacher’s Kid in Atlanta
Plus additional special features
Angie King leaves her small town behind to hit it big.
Letoya Luckett, Tank, Tammy Townsend, Carlos Davis and Andre Butler
Warner Brothers has spent the last couple of years trying to find new audiences in the Home Video realm. First, they targeted the comic geeks with DC Direct. Then, they started mining their mildly successful feature properties for DTV sequels. Now, they’ve turned their intentions to those of a finer faith. Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox have learned that there is a dollar to be made playing to urban/religious audiences. Now, watch as I take on the end result of this business move.
Preacher’s Kid exists in a void where the Christian mindset would love to exist. A perfect world where everybody lives in their communities, nobody knows nothing about latter 20th Century progress and any stupid pure dream comes true. Hell, Tyler Perry will try to slip some mildly militant feminism into his pieces. But, that’s not what you’re going to receive her. This film is a calculated attempt at appealing to all audiences in the skin of a faith-based film.
Preacher’s Kid opens in church-going community of Augusta, Georgia. Angie King is the daughter of the local Bishop, but she wants to break free of her father’s tight grasp. She has dreams of making it to New York and becoming a great singer. This doesn’t work out quite that well, as Angie becomes the understudy for the lead in a traveling ethnic Gospel road show. While touring, Angie meets low-grade R&B star Devlin and begins to entertain the idea of going all the way. Fearing an early pregnancy, but wanting to become an independent woman…Angie faces a turning point.
Sometimes, I wonder why I get stuck reviewing shit like this. I do that a lot, but I digress. When Angie is struggling to learn how to use a pregnancy test, I realize that the film creators have no idea how the hell they’re writing for. When a young girl can’t understand instructions written on the side of a box, I begin to wonder if the screenwriter thought that all of his characters were retarded. Hell, I don’t even want to slam retarded people. I know several mongoloids that can function as well as most children, but this is going too far.
Over a nearly two-hour stretch, we’re asked to accept ethnic drama convention and hope for the best. The most rudimentary approach to the material is to call out its attempt at modernizing the tale of the Prodigal Son. It’s just that like most thinks made for a limited audience, there wasn’t a lot of time to finesse jack shit about the final product. While the film did receive an extremely limited theatrical run around the DVD release date, one has to wonder why?!? It was promoted as being the acting debut for a member of Destiny’s Child that didn’t get a lot of face time.
When you get past that, you’ve got nothing but the final product. Who gives a shit about the story? Much like the traveling ethnic gospel road shows portrayed in the film, it’s barely a step above a sketch on The Lawrence Welk Show. There’s music, broad comedy and a supposed ringleader to tie everything together. People laugh at the cues more out of habitual tradition, rather than the material earning your compassion or cheer.
While I know that this kind of material doesn’t get that much play outside of the Southeast or Lower Midwest, I wonder if there’s not some sort of camp audience for this schlock. In this modern digital age, we’re bound to be just a click away from a group of people that can find ironic appreciation in a god-fearing girl trying to avoid getting her ass beat by a God loving R&B singer. Covering material like this puts you at such a weird angle if you aren’t authentically digging the message. That message being an over-planned pseudo Faith based plan on tackling a message about Jesus to the young people. What’s so weird about what they’ve done here is that it is no different than any Tyler Perry offering, but this plays worse for the wear.
This film marks my last viewing before CHUD undergoes the long-awaited revamp. As, we all wait for what will arrive on the other side of the Sewer…I just hope that I live you with a thought. Subject matter doesn’t make a film terrible. Hell, a solidly structured movie can survive a terrible director and cast. When a movie reads like an outline from a studio accountant, you are watching the death of original content creativity. Fuck that noise.
Blu-Ray arrives with a couple of featurettes and additional scenes. The AVC encoded transfer is very weak and sports a very soft image. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track did well when Luckett had her various musical moments. Luckett did the usual pop warbling and that caused my subwoofer to go a little nuts. Oh well, it did the job that it needed to do. Most of the target audience will turn this into a Redbox rental, while everyone else will ignore it.