Goldberg and Ving Rhames team for a bracing look at life's setbacks,
co-starring Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise and Mekhi Phifer
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, April 18, 2014, 2:00 AM
On TV even more than on the printed page, Terry McMillan’s “A Day Late
and a Dollar Short” plays like one of those stories you tell your kids
to get them to shape up.
Once upon a time, there was the Prince family, headed by Viola (Whoopi
Goldberg) and Cecil (Ving Rhames). They had four children — three girls
and a boy.
All four were smart and loved. The boy had some trouble with substance
abuse, but the girls grew up to be, by all appearances, successful.
Still, all four behaved selfishly, in ways that harmed others, and in
the end that brought unhappiness to themselves and their family.
The seeds of this discontent are multiple and familiar, telescoped into one family.
Cecil worked so hard building his business and supporting the family
that he inadvertently shut out Viola. By the time he realized it, it was
too late for them to recapture what they once had.
So when we meet Cecil, he's got a new woman. Viola, who suffers from
much worse lung problems than she lets anybody knows, keeps herself busy
trying to help the children cope with drug addiction, workaholism,
control issues, rebellious teenagers and a couple of other problems that
are even starker and more bracing.
“Day Late” plays like a cauldron of bad choices, all mixed together,
with Viola trying desperately to make everyone stop feeding the fire.
It’s not surprising that in the end, Viola only has one final card to play.
Much of “Day Late” is not upbeat. Happily, fine acting by Anika Noni
Rose, Kimberly Elise, Tichina Arnold and Mekhi Phifer, along with
Goldberg and Rhames, makes it a cautionary tale worth watching.
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