The directorial debut of playwright David E. Talbert, "First Sunday" focuses on Durell (Ice Cube) and LeeJohn (Tracy Morgan), two pals who've been in their share of trouble and are now trying to play it straight. However, it doesn't last long, as LeeJohn manages to quickly get them fired from a new job. Trying to find another job, they find it isn't easy with a criminal record.
Both are in desperate need of the cash, with Durell trying to get enough child support money to keep his ex (Regina Hall) from moving away with his son. LeeJohn's reasons are purely about saving himself, as he's gotten into trouble with some bad guys and owes them money. The two finally come up with a plan: rob a local church that's been gathering more and more money to build a sleek new church.
On the night when they finally do break in, things don't go exactly as planned: the church directors are still around and the two have to take hostages. When they open the safe, the money's already been taken. So starts a long night of the two talking to everyone - including the pastor (Chi McBride), the deacon (Michael Beach), choir director Rickey (Katt Williams), Tianna (Malinda Williams) and Sister Doris (Loretta Devine) - and trying to figure out who stole the money before they could.
"First Sunday" tries to be both a slapstick comedy and a little more heartwarming and dramatic than expected and doesn't quite manage to be wholly successful at either. There are some genuinely nice moments scattered throughout, but the movie tries to get the audience to sympathize with the two leads and never quite manages it. In terms of laughs, the movie never really goes all out and what jokes do work are more chuckles than full-on laughs. Morgan - who's hysterical in "30 Rock" - isn't asked to do much here. It's Katt Williams, in a minor part, that's the funniest of the cast members.
Overall, "First Sunday" manages some moments thanks to a solid cast, but the script is rather predictable and first-time director Talbert just doesn't manage the balance between laughs and drama the movie is looking for.
VIDEO: "First Sunday" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 1.85:1 (1080P/AVC). The presentation quality is satisfactory, as while aspects of the transfer impress, others fall a little short. Sharpness and detail are above-average, but not more than that, as while the picture appeared quite crisp, some secnes could look softer than others and fine details weren't presented with the kind of precise clarity that one would expect.
The presentation doesn't show any edge enhancement, print flaws or pixelation, but there is noticable noise in some of the church sequences. Colors looked natural and appeared to be accurate and flesh tones also looked spot-on. This was a slightly above-average presentation.
SOUND: The film is presented here in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and the results aren't much different than one might expect. The rap songs sound bassy and rich and dialogue remains crisp and sounds well-recorded. Surrounds offer some light ambience, but otherwise this is a dialogue-driven presentation.
EXTRAS: Commentary by Talbert, "Hood Robbin' with the First Sunday Cast and Crew" featurette, gag reel, outtakes, deleted scenes, trailers, trivia track.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "First Sunday" manages some moments thanks to a solid cast, but the script is rather predictable and first-time director Talbert just doesn't manage the balance between laughs and drama the movie is looking for. The Blu-Ray edition delivers fine audio/video quality and a nice helping of supplements. A light rental recommendation for Ice Cube fans.
The Film C+