January 16, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

Some critics saw only the clichés in this warm, fractious drama about how a black family nearly flies apart when its center (grandmother Irma P. Hall) lands in the hospital. And, okay, some of the subplots — buppie Michael Beach is drawn to his workaholic wife’s (Williams) randy cousin (Gina Ravera); newlyweds Long and Mekhi Phifer struggle to overcome his criminal past — practically have ruts worn into them. But the performances are all skilled, heartfelt, and rich (Brandon Hammond is especially winning as the pint-size narrator), and the film fits cozily into the domestic arena of video. George Tillman Jr. writes and directs with homespun style and a minimum of flash, reminding us that behind a lot of clichés lie simple truths.

type
Movie
Genre
mpaa
R
runtime
114 minutes
director
George Tillman, Jr.
Cast
Brandon Hammond,
Irma P. Hall,
Mekhi Phifer,
Michael Beach,
Jeffrey D. Sams
Studio
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
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