‘Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins’ is a comedy film that follows the misadventures of the eponymous character (Martin Lawrence) as he returns to his hometown in Georgia, US, for his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Roscoe was constantly bullied by his siblings and cousins when he was young and has always struggled to fit in with his family. However, he is now an accomplished talk-show host and set to get married to Survivor winner Bianca Kittles (Joy Bryant).
So, he tries to secure a new position in his family’s hierarchy by flaunting his success. But soon enough, old familial rivalries get reignited, and Roscoe finds himself being treated like when he was a child: a walking disaster. Arguably, the film’s main motifs are family and the many ways an individual (in this case, Roscoe) is connected to his roots. If those things have made you wonder whether ‘Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins’ is inspired by real-life events, this is what you need to know.
Is Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins’ is not based on a true story. Director Malcolm D. Lee (‘The Best Man’) made the film from a script that he himself wrote. Originally, the film was developed under the title ‘The Better Man,’ but that was later changed to ‘Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins.’ According to Lee, the film’s “terrible title” was one of the main reasons for the lukewarm response from the audience.
Lawrence stated in an interview that he became involved in the project because he thought the script was funny. During production, he was truly impressed by Lee and stated that the people would hear big things from the filmmaker. Most members of the cast are successful comedians. As a result, several lines of the film were adlibs. According to Lawrence, the improvised lines were included when they were not forced, leading to some truly magical moments.
Lee developed the character of Betty Jenkins, Roscoe’s abrasive and promiscuous sister, with Mo’Nique in mind. Many of her scenes, including the famous shower scene with Mike Epps, were improvised. According to her, if the comedians in the cast weren’t allowed to improvise their lines, ‘Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins’ would have been a much inferior film. In her fight scene with Lawrence, she apparently landed some punches on her co-star, prompting him to warn her about it. Although she apologized, she pointed out to him that she was not a stunt person.
‘Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins’ celebrates black families and black culture in the American South. Roscoe has distanced himself from his family for somewhat understandable reasons. But it takes only a visit to his hometown to remind him who he is and what his values are. After undergoing much self-reflection, Roscoe decides to embrace his roots proudly. Clearly, the film isn’t based on a true story, but it is completely understandable if someone thinks it is.
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