Jumping the Broom

13 May

Title: Jumping the Broom
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Salim Akil
Writers: Elizabeth Hunter and Arlene Gibbs, based on a story by Elizabeth Hunter
Starring:
Laz Alonso, Paula Patton, Tasha Smith, Loretta Devine, Megan Good, Angela Bassett, Mike Epps, Romeo Miller, Julie Bowen
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, some sexual content
Runtime: 
112 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
3.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 
52%

I think I ought to have liked Jumping the Broom a bit more than I actually did. After all, the cast, or at least the supporting one, is charming enough and you can tell the filmmakers really put their hearts into it, but it’s just too bad that their hearts were set on a script that’s so plain and clichée-ladden. I wanted to like this one because you could tell it really meant well, but it just didn’t cut it for me.

It desperately tries to cash in on the Romeo & Juliet formula, but instead of using the class discrimination issues to give this film some sort of substance it seems as though the film just needs them to get some quick and cheap jokes in it, most of which wouldn’t feel out of place in a crappy sitcom struggling for ratings. There’s also another wedding movie that premiered alongside this one last weekend, Something Borrowed, which I’ll hopefully get to see soon because I want to compare the two in the battle of the wedding movies. As it is right now, I can only say that they maybe should have switched titles, because every single dull gag and joke in Jumping the Broom feels like something borrowed from countless of other films we have seen plenty of times, many of them not even good on their own right, and as such this one just feels kind of crappy.

Paula Patton and Laz Alonso play the couple about to be wed with the discording families. She plays Sabrina, a wealthy girl who after a one-night stand decides that she would stop having sex until she gets married. Soon as she says this, however, there’s a horrible meet-cute with Mr. Alonso’s character, Jason, as her Audi bumps into him and they begin to date. And five months later he proposes to her, I’m guessing because he couldn’t deal with that much longer without getting laid. Now, Sabrina and Jason are both professionals on the rise, so they’re good and ready to get married and build a life together. But the clash of classes will come when their parents meet at Sabrina’s family’s Martha’s Vineyard house for the wedding.

And it’ll all be pretty crappy. I mean, the actors employed to play the families do a much better job than Ms. Patton and Mr. Alonso, both of whom really let the film down, but they still aren’t working with material good enough to suggest a good result. And that’s because you know that once the whole wedding party is together and meets in Martha’s Vineyard then troubles will arise between both families, one super wealthy and the other not so much, and that family secrets will start coming out from other subplots, and that chastity between our main romance won’t always be that easy, and that new romances will surely seem to begin to bloom as people start meeting.

This is a film that looks great, because it has some pretty faces and some prettier locations, but beneath that we have a lot of dumb humor and sappy melodramatic moments provided by a wide array of characters that seem too big for the movie they’re in. It feels as though Tyler Perry had made a wedding rom-com in Martha’s Vineyard. But then again, even though I failed his last film, I think Mr. Perry would’ve had the sense to know that this film was just too packed, especially during its hectic and senseless final act, for us to really connect to it on any level.

It obviously sounds like I’m really hating on Jumping the Broom, but while I certainly wouldn’t recommend it, it also isn’t the worst movie out there right now, I just hated how it was written. I mean, that final act of the film is just full of revelations and things that wouldn’t fit into an entire movie most of the times, let alone the final half hour of one. And that obviously cheapens the effect of many of those scenes, as soon as a secret it’s revealed it’s forgiven, and that’s just not believable, not even here.

I was thinking about giving this one a C- grade, but there was a part of Jumping the Broom that made the affair that much more bearable, and totally bumped it up one grade, and she goes by the name of Julie Bowen. Yes, Ms. Bowen of the incredible Modern Family is here as the lone white member involved in the wedding procedure as the wedding planner, and she’s given racial jokes about how she just doesn’t understand what black people want. The jokes themselves aren’t great, and I’m guessing that if they had been delivered by a lesser actress they would have been on par with the rest of the disappointing movie, but Ms. Bowen has impeccable timing and gives this film a few very tolerable, if not shining, moments.

However, other than Ms. Bowen, there’s really nothing much to cheer for in Jumping the Broom, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it. There are just too many subplots and revelations coming up here, and I know every wedding movie needs moments that threat to ruin the celebration, but one or two would have been sufficient instead of the ten we got here. And yes, there actually are some genuinely good moments in between, mostly provided by some of the very good supporting players, but not nearly enough for this one to really pack a punch. But, hey, at least the setting makes for some pretty shots of the beautiful location.

Grade: C

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