Film Reviewed by Kam Williams
Dysfunctional Family Drama Unfolds Across the Color Line
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Rated PG-13 for brief profanity and a sexual reference.
Running time: 96 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD Extras: Trailers and previews.
DVD Review by Kam Williams
Fair (1 star)
When Carmel Boxer (Gabrielle Union) passed away, all of her relatives returned to Huntsville, Alabama for the funeral, including her brother, Helms (Billy Dee Williams), an embittered expatriate living in Paris. Helms had skipped town because he had made such a mess of his life there.
He had grown up there during the days of segregation and had dared to wed a white woman. And though that marriage to Nancy (Leslie Ann Warren) would not last, it did produce a child, caf’ au lait Lucy (Melissa de Sousa), who’s been estranged from her father for years.
Helms’ second marriage, to Jenita (Rae Dawn Chong), a black woman, didn't last either, but it did yield another daughter, namely, the relatively well-adjusted Rosa (Zoe Saldana). All these characters converge on the wake, and if this scenario doesn't sound like enough of a soap opera, also huddling around the casket is Lucy’s white husband, Kent (Alec Newman), and Rosa’s black ex-boyfriend, Errol (Hill Harper), who cheated on her with her white best friend, Celeste (Ever Carradine).
And wouldn’t you know it, Celeste is the niece of Bear (David Clennon) who just wished he had had the strength a half century before to propose to the love of his life, the dearly-departed Carmel. But because he never summoned the gumption to cross the color line, he was fated to be plagued by overwhelming regret to this very day.
You’ll need a scorecard to keep the players straight in Constellation, a disappointing gabfest from writer/director Jordan Walker-Pearlman (The Visit).
An overplotted, emotional dump plods along as if stuck in the cinematic equivalent of quicksand, never generating any traction because no matter how much everybody vents, nothing of consequence ever transpires.
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