Bringing Down The House

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, sexual humor and drug material 
Starring: Steve Martin, Queen Latifa, Eugene Levy 
Directed by:Adam Shankman 

Final Grade: 

The Internet is fake. Shortly after I typed that, I just realized I am writing a review that will be posted on the Internet. So let me rephrase that. Most of the things you see, the people you meet and the OTHER movie review websites you read are fake. At times it’s hard to know what is the real thing when it comes to the online world. Since this theory is not a new revelation to the world of online users, I find it shocking that every day millions of people go to the Internet to find true love. If I were looking, which for all of you movie critic loving girls out there I am sad to say I am not, the Internet would be the last place I would go for romance. The internet has a lot of other more important uses, such as reading weird websites, movie stuff and buying things, but definitely not blind dates- especially not a blind internet date with some girl called Alex that I later found out was a guy… Wait a second! Did I just say that out loud? Doh!

Bringing Down The House is the story of Lawyer Peter Sanderson. Peter is obsessed with work, and his life has taken a toll because of it. His marriage has fallen apart and through a string of broken promises his children are slowly losing any real interest in spending time with their father. But when Peter makes a blind Internet date his life takes on a new twist. He meets Charlene, a voluptuous African American woman who spent some time in prison for armed robbery. Charlene cons Peter into helping her appeal her case, and much to Peter’s despair begins to become a friend to his fellow co-workers and children.

This movie doesn’t strive to push the envelope in any way shape or form, but I really felt it did a decent job. The jokes at times were a little over the top, and some of them especially the bodily humor jokes were at times a little unnecessary. However those jokes are kept to a limit and rely more heavily on other types of humor. Steve Martin was the perfect man for the part, and it shows as the plot advances and the really bad puns continue to roll off his tongue. There is also something about an Ebonics speaking wannabe that is “off the heasy.” (Later note: Am I really allowed to use phrases like “off the heasy” in a movie review and still be a credible critic?) Anyhow, what I am trying to say is the element of an Ebonics speaking Steve Martin makes this film fun and not too over the top. Martin’s co-star, Queen Latifa, who is getting a lot of attention these days because of her performance in The Academy Award Nominated Chicago, helps keep the lighthearted tone of the movie in check, and doesn’t really detract from the film. Unfortunately, compared to Chicago this is a far more sub-par performance for her. Don’t get me wrong; she did a “good” job, I just hoped for better. And who could forget the once loser now famous funny guy after his fictitious son screwed a pie. That’s right, Eugene Levy. (For those of you lost, the movie I was referencing was this little film called American Pie but chances are if you didn’t know that you are a cinematic idiot and I would feel sorry for you). Levy does a great job of adding to the overall comic element the movie was aiming for, and having him use phrases like “I’d like to dip you in Cheese Whiz and Spread you over a Ritz Cracka” and “You gots me straight trippin boo” make the film if nothing else mildly entertaining to watch.

I’d have to say the thing I liked most about the film wasn’t the acting, but it was the fact that the film knew what it was. It didn’t try to take a political stance and fail miserably like a current Kevin Spacey film, It didn’t have trouble with trying to decide if it was a kid’s flick or an adult flick but instead focused on using it’s resources, the actors, to their bring about the comic element. The film had it’s flaws, many of them in fact, but it was far better than the painfully unfunny Just Married from earlier this season.

To sum everything up, what I am trying to say is that don’t go into Bringing Down The House expecting solid gold, because you won’t get it. But if you go in to the theater expecting to have a few good laughs at the expense of some satire of the “black culture” you will have a good time. You won’t “Bring Down the House” with laughter, but you will be entertained.