Martin Bachelor Party

Guest stars: YoYo, Reg Ballard, Ivelka Reyes, Kimberly Bailey, Simbi Kahali, Jeri Grey, Renee Hughes, Jennifer Lee, Sean Lampkin, Adrian Tibbs, Anthony Daniels, Ray Massara, Rae Proctor, Ursula Woodland, Peaches Davis, Giola Miller.

With:
Cast: Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Carl Anthony Payne II, Thomas Mikal Ford, Tichina Arnold.

Guest stars: YoYo, Reg Ballard, Ivelka Reyes, Kimberly Bailey, Simbi Kahali, Jeri Grey, Renee Hughes, Jennifer Lee, Sean Lampkin, Adrian Tibbs, Anthony Daniels, Ray Massara, Rae Proctor, Ursula Woodland, Peaches Davis, Giola Miller.

Prenuptial jitters and the outright silliness of bachelor parties frame this installment hatched by writer Bentley Kyle Evans to bring Martin (Martin Lawrence) and Gina (Tisha Campbell) closer by show’s end. But the paucity of inventiveness and overwrought characterizations by the cast make this seg overdone and rarely funny, save for a few impersonations by Lawrence when poking fun at his friends.

Spurred by the comical misconceptions of married life espoused by their cronies, the couple deals with the expected exaggerations about the future in flash forwards, with Martin and Gina each sharing wildly differing, yet stereotypical, assumptions about what the coming years of coupledom will hold.

Buffering these hokey dream segs are anemic discussions by the couple’s flaky contemporaries about strippers, disrespectful spouses and the toll of peer pressure, all designed to drive home a number of pro-social, Afro-centric messages.

Thankfully Evans’ commentary is supported by Lawrence’s deft and developed skill at making lemonade from lemons, assisted by his ability to turn minute mannerisms into giant-sized machinations, all for a well-deserved laugh.

Campbell’s tough but soft act is a diamond in this rough, and she is consistent in holding her own even while awash in Lawrence’s spotlight.

But Lawrence’s sight gags lend a much-needed goofiness to the serious attempts — usually proffered by Gina — to register some kind of dramatic suggestion to viewers.

Helmer Gerren Keith wisely lets his talented cast put their best bits forward , and by doing so almost succeeds in salvaging a tired and uninspired storyline.

Martin Bachelor Party

(Thurs. (4), 8-8:30 pm., Fox)

Production: Taped in Los Angeles by HBO Independent Prods. for Fox Broadcasting Co. Executive producers, Samm-Art Williams, Martin Lawrence; co-executive producers, Phil Kellard, Tom Moore; producers, Cheryl Holliday, Bentley Kyle Evans, Mark J. Greenberg; writer, Evans; director, Gerren Keith; director of photography, Gary Scott; art director, Sharon Busse; sound, Doug Gray, Anthony Costantini, Rick Himot, Eric A. Norris.

Crew: Music, Bill Maxwell.

Cast: Cast: Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Carl Anthony Payne II, Thomas Mikal Ford, Tichina Arnold.

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