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This Christmas

If you love you some Chris Brown, the baby-faced soul man's predictable but heartfelt family dramedy will be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.


This African-American variation on The Family Stone subscribes to the notion that Christmas is not really the most wonderful time of the year when it comes to visiting relatives. So don't expect much peace and goodwill to be found when the Whitfields gather together for their first Christmas dinner in four years. The six siblings who spend the holidays at the California home of family matriarch Ma'Dere (Loretta Devine) all harbor a dark secret or a hidden agenda. Take Quentin (Idris Elba). He owes two very pissed-off bookies $25,000. Homemaker Lisa (Regina King) wants to sell the family business to fund her unappreciative husband's (Laz Alonso) latest get-rich-quick scheme. Kelli (Sharon Leal) doesn't want Lisa's no-good husband getting his grubby paws on Ma'Dere's hard-earned money. But what does this young professional wantime of great stress and celebration. There are worse ways of spending the holidays than sitting down to Christmas dinner—or boogieing down to vintage Kool & the Gang—with the warring Whitfields.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 1/2 stars.