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McCoy on Movies: “Jumping the Broom” Movie Review

McCoy on Movies: “Jumping the Broom” Movie Review
What happens when uptown meets downtown in a tale of love, family and religion in T.D. Jakes’ latest Hollywood release? Jump to it and find out!
"We're all smiling now because the box office numbers showing how much Thor crushed us at the box office haven't come in yet!" Jason (Laz Alonso) and Sabrina (Paula Patton) walk off to start their lives together in front of friends and family in director Salilm Akil's “Jumping the Broom”.
Credit: Jonathan Wenk © 2011 Tri-Star Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

 

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Loretta Devine, Meagan Good, Tasha Smith, Julie Bowen, "'Lil" Romeo Miller, DeRay Davis, Valarie Pettiford and Mike Epps

 

WRITER: Elizabeth Hunter and Arlene Gibbs (screenplay); Elizabeth Hunter (story by)

 

DIRECTOR: Salim Akil

 

WEB SITE: http://www.jumpingthebroom-movie.com//

 

THE PLOT: The latest film produced by prominent African-American religious leader T.D. Jakes, “Jumping the Broom” stars Mrs. Robin Thicke, Paula Patton, as Sabrina Watson. Tired of getting seduced by men who are attractive yet not marriage material, Sabrina promises to God to stop giving up her "cookie" (her term, not mine) if he will bring a good man into her life.

 

That's when she hits Jason (Laz Alonso) with her Audi and the two begin their relationship which, after five "incredible" (once again, the film's words, not mine) months, leads to a marriage proposal featuring an 80s R&B icon. (I would say who, but I'm not going to ruin the surprise!) You see, Sabrina has a job offer in China she has accepted and not wanting to lose her, Jason proposes and she accepts. Now incredibly happy, there's only one thing left to do: Get married.

 

Problem is, Sabrina's and Jason's families haven't met each other yet ... And they could NOT be more different.

 

See, whereas Jason's mother (Loretta Devine) is very traditional and blue collar, Sabrina's mother (Angela Basset) and father (Brian Stokes Mitchell) are very upper crust and "modern" - or as Jason's mother would put it, bourgeois. Likewise, whereas Jason's uncle Willie Earl (Mike Epps) and cousin (DeRay Davis) are wanna-be lotharios, Sabrina's cousin Blythe (Meagan Good) and free-spirited aunt Geneva (Valarie Pettiford) are more independent and in to status and cash (or so it seems). Meanwhile, Jason's mother's best friend Shonda (Tasha Smith) has her own issue to deal with since Sebastian (Romeo Miller, a.k.a. Master P's son "Lil' Romeo) is warm for her form despite her being at least twice is age. And poor Amy (Julie Bowen), the wedding planner, has to adjust to all the various changes on the fly.

 

So what happens when the white collar and blue collar families come together and clash over everything from what's prim and proper to who really is family and how they impact your life? A lot - hence the reason there's an hour of 50 (give or take) minutes of movie for you to watch!

 

THE TAKE: For those of you wondering how heavy the Christian overtones are in “Jumping the Broom,” you will either be relieved, disappointed - or, if you're like most people who simply want to watch an entertaining movie, won't really care - to know that it is not heavy-handed. Yes, the message of the film - be open to change as your family grows - has an underlying message of faith, but not one that deters from the overall viewing experience.

 

Acting-wise, the film has some flaws. Paula Patton is not well suited for comedy, yet gives a passable performance. Likewise, Loretta Devine is playing the same character she always plays that is essentially the same central role found in many a Tyler Perry movie (the strong black woman who runs things, likes things the way she likes them because she has most people's best interests at heart and only changes once forced to if at all) ... And poor Julie Bowen wins the Alicia Silverstone “Beauty Shop” award as “Jumping the Broom” token white character who is mainly there for comical relief as she clumsily stumbles across white/black cultural situations for comedic purposes.

 

However, that doesn't throw the movie off the rails thanks largely in part to [1] Bassett's performance which is much more multi-layered than usually found in many pre-dominantly African American films; [2] the secondary performances of Epps, Good and Alonso provide both humor and depth to the film and [3] the non-stereotypical, heartfelt approach the film takes with the issues it explores. Is any of it groundbreaking? Not at all. Is it entertaining? Yes - and that's the critical difference. These are people you could see yourself hanging out with, relate to and most importantly, enjoy watching on screen together. Director Salim Akil deserves much praise for not letting his film denigrate itself into either a large, poorly executed ensemble comedy nor one that is essentially a lot of black people rehashing the same tired things in the same tired manner.

 

PARTING SHOT: A film that you don't have to be black or very religious to enjoy, “Jumping the Broom” makes it easy to say "I do" when it comes to movie matrimony this spring.

 

RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

Tabari McCoy -

Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. You can check out more of his work on his blog at McCoyonMovies.BlogSpot.com and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy

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