TGJ Review: ‘A Day Late and a Dollar Short’ (Starring Whoopi Goldberg)


Whoopi Goldberg leads an all-star cast in the film adaptation of Terry McMillan‘s fifth book and New York Times Bestseller, A Day Late and a Dollar Short’. The made-for-TV movie follows Viola Price (Goldberg) as she struggles to keep her dysfunctional family together in the midst of her own health crisis. After a devastating asthma attack, Viola learns her days are numbered and begins planning a Paris theme 60th birthday at which she hopes to gather her family one last time. A happy celebration turns sour when all hell breaks loose leaving Viola filled with anxiety and heartbreak.

Although Goldberg, who previously worked with McMillan on How Stella Got Her Groove Back, does a phenomenal job (proving why she’s an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award-winning star), there are a number of other notable performances. Tichina Arnold plays a sassy and loud mouth daughter, Charlotte, who often butts heads with her successful TV chef and sister Paris, played by Anika Noni Rose—both have their own issues with men they’re ironing out. Fellow troubled siblings Janelle, played by Kimberly Elise, and Lewis, played Mekhi Phifer, are forced to rectify tragic parenting issues with their respective children. The Price family patriarch, Cecil, played by Ving Rhames, rounds out the cast but doesn’t escape the drama. He’s faced with choosing between staying with his wife or shacking up with his pregnant girlfriend. And there’s way more chaos, but we won’t spoil it for you!

Despite its title, A Day Late and a Dollar Short delivers beyond reasonable expectations. It’s not often that made-for-TV movies with star-studded casts dazzle audiences. They often fail miserably. (Remember that awful Steel Magnolias remake? We’re still recovering from that train wreck, by the way!) Before committing to the movie this coming Saturday, dismiss what you think a TV movie should be and allow the unexpected plot twists and performances to entertain you.

The best parts of the film come when heavy topics like teen pregnancy, prescription drug abuse and scandalous infidelity are handled with comedic gloves. That’s not to say overlook the film’s flaws—mainly its tidy (and unrealistic) ending—a problem which many book-to-film projects face. But it is to say this is one TV film that deserves an audience.

A Day Late and a Dollar Short airs Saturday April 19th on Lifetime at 8p.m.

That Grape Juice Rating:

4 Stars out of 5

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  1. DD April 18, 2014

    At first I was wondering what this Tyler Perry non-sense was but as I read the review and the cast, I am looking forward to this. Anika Noni Rose should be a superstar with the endless amount of talent and beauty she possesses.

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  2. JOHNVIDAL April 19, 2014

    I doubt this is deserving of 4 out of 5 stars. TGJ and some of their readers need to stop living in their urban bubble. There are soooooooo many great films out there every year. Usually not the ones that get mentioned in this blog 🙂

  3. HowYouDoin April 21, 2014

    It was a little low budget but it was a GREAT cast, and the story line OMG!
    Get a bowl of Popcorn and your Favorite Beverage because its gonna be a Juicy Ride! Let me just tell you! Gotta Love Terry McMillan. My only issue is i needed another hour in the film to find out where each character is now. They really can do a Sequel to this movie! Watch it with your family or friends or just by yourself. TRUST ME JUST WATCH IT!!!

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