The film is set in Baltimore. The film follows Durell (pronounced Darrel) (Ice Cube) and LeeJohn (Tracy Morgan), who are best friends and bumbling petty criminals. At the beginning of the film, the two have just began working in a store that repairs electronic goods. The manager is impressed by Durell's skillful ability to fix things. LeeJohn gets both men fired when he attempts to steal a television from the store. Durrel attempts to find another honest job, but no one he asks is willing to hire him as he has stated a criminal record on his application form.
LeeJohn gets them a one-off job for local criminal or con man Blahka, who will pay them $3000. While attempting to deliver ten stolen wheelchairs worth $1200 each, the duo lose the merchandise in a police chase. They are sentenced to 5000 hours of community service. Then they are told they have 24 hours to pay $12,000 to cover the loss or they will be shot dead. Simultaneously, Durell's son will have to move to Atlanta unless Durell gives his ex some money to pay her lease on her business premises.
Durrell does not care about Blakha, but nevertheless the pair work together to raise the money they need. First they try to get a loan from a guy named Mordecai at a massage parlor. LeeJohn goes to get a massage hoping to get close to the pretty Chinese attendant. He enjoys the massage immensely but is scared away when his masseuse is revealed to be Mordecai (a man). The next day Durrel attempts to take Lee John's mind off what happened by pointing out a beautiful girl, Tianna the pastor's daughter, heading into the church for service. They follow her into the church and join the mass for service. The church has raised $230,000 dollars and is considering moving to new premises. Lee John comes up with a desperate scheme to rob their neighborhood church. Durrel is against the idea but eventually agrees, seeing no other option. Instead, they are forced to deal with much more than they bargained for.
They enter the church's office and encounter the terrified and smarmy deacon. They soon realize that the church is far from empty, as they believed. They accompany the deacon to a meeting, planning to leave quickly so that his absence does not cause suspicion. During the meeting it is made clear that the Deacon is pushing the pastor to move the church. Tianna sees the deacon for the money-hungry self-righteous man that he is, but is unable to convince her father. She is however close to one of the Church senior members, Momma T. The church choir then show up for an unscheduled rehearsal further endangering the pairs' plans. Finally losing patience, Durrel fires a gun into the air and orders the Deacon to get the money.
When they try to steal the money they find that the money has already been stolen. Enraged, they both hold the church hostage until the money turns up. Durrel ties the pastor up, as he is defiant and difficult. Durrel then interrogates everyone about the money's whereabouts. He appears to suspect Tianna, who looks down on him for obvious reasons. She reminds him that the pastor is her father. Durrel rebukes her by reminding her that without money the church could not move, to which she has no argument. Meanwhile, Lee John takes Timmy, a little boy, to the bathroom as he was making a fuss about wanting to go. When he says that he will return the child back to his mother (the kind sister Doris), the boy reveals that his real mother has left him. Lee John feels empathy for the boy.
The police pass by and Durrell orders everyone to the back room and orders Ricky to poke his head out the door and talk to them. Ricky does so, and attempts to signal to them with blinks and long drawn-out words. However the police simply figure that he is eccentric. The hostages moan that it is too hot. Durell goes to fix the broken air conditioner, while LeeJohn watches over the hostages. To Lee John's bewilderment, sister Doris begins cooking for everyone, using the church's kitchen. Doris gives him a plate, and fondly remembers how her husband loved her cooking on his birthday. He expresses his sadness at never having had a birthday as no one knew his birthday, and is comforted by Sister Doris.
Meanwhile, Durell and Tianna go to fix the air conditioner. After an awkward conversation, where Tianna warms to Durrel and questions what he is doing, they finally get the air-conditioning going. Durell then orders everyone back to the lobby. The blind, deaf janitor finds the missing money. Durell receives a phone call from his son, which he is ashamed to answer. Momma T then asks for Durell's purpose for what he is doing. Durell claims that he is doing it for his son. Momma T rejects his claim and says that Durell is doing it for himself, as he is blaming everyone but the person responsible, himself.
Durell says that he will not lose his son and leaves the money. Unfortunately, cops have surrounded the church blocking their way out. The pastor tells them to escape out the back, which leads to a chase. The two criminals soon get caught. At the trial, which the entire church attends, the Deacon says that they have been accused of stealing 64,000 dollars. But the amount of money he claims was almost stolen was twice the amount the Deacon claimed was collected. This puts the deacon at question. The case is dropped after no one stands when witnesses are called. Durell goes back to Omunique's apartment where he is confronted by the men who gave them the wheelchairs.
After he explains his situation, the two men allow him to go and get his son. Omunique opens the door, yelling at Durell and asking him where did the money come from. The money was left at her doorstep and Durell tells her it was a gift. He implores her not take his son away, claiming that his son is all he has. She responds that she will stay. In the end LeeJohn and Durrel appear much happier. It is implied that Durrel is closer to his ex-wife and son, while LeeJohn remains close to Doris and Timothy. The remaining money is used to restore the community and Tianna is seen painting a community centre.Ice Cube as Durell Douglas Washington
Tracy Morgan as Leejohn James Jacob Jackson
Katt Williams as Ricky
Loretta Devine as Sister Doris
Michael Beach as the Deacon
Keith David as Judge B. Bennet Galloway
Regina Hall as Omunique
Retta as Roberta
Malinda Williams as Tianna Mitchell
Chi McBride as Pastor Arthur Mitchell
Clifton Powell as Officer Eddie King
Nicholas Turturro as Officer D'Agostino
Olivia Cole as Momma T
Richard Colbert as Durell Washington Jr.
Rickey Smiley as Bernice Jenkins
Arjay Smith as Preston
P. J. Byrne as Assistant D.A.
Paul Campbell as Blahka
Tiffany Pollard as Omunique's Client
The film received negative reviews from critics. As of December 18, 2014, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film has received 13% positive reviews, based on 75 reviews, with an average rating of 3.8/10. The site's consensus reads, "First Sunday" may have its heart in the right place, but its funny bone is dislocated. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 41 out of 100, based on 21 reviews.
The film opened at #2 at the box office, behind The Bucket List, with $17,714,821 with an average of $8,004 from 2,213 theaters. When First Sunday closed on February 24, 2008, the film has grossed $37,931,869 from the North American box office and $844,216 in the foreign box office adding to $38,776,085 worldwide. It grossed more than $100,000 in only four regions outside of the United States, including South Africa ($189,960), the United Kingdom and Ireland ($152,372), Kuwait ($129,332) and the United Arab Emirates ($101,412).
It was released January 11, 2008 in the United States and Canada and was released throughout Europe in April 2008. The film was released on DVD May 6, 2008. It was also released on Blu-ray, UMD and had an "Exclusive Edition" with a CD at Walmart.