By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
Still reeling from Tyler Perry’s latest abomination, and noticing that some of his usual collaborators were involved, I was a little less than excited to draw this movie. Right from the 2D becomes 3D opening credits the similarities between the films jumped out to me, with one large difference. They demonstrated a style and skill far removed from Perry’s continuing drop into culturally bankrupt cookie-cutting.
Okay, I might still be holding a grudge
Jumping the Broom centers on the marriage of Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) of a rich, Martha’s Vinyard-inhabiting clan to Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso) who has decidedly more blue-collar Brooklyn roots. Culture clash, romance, family secrets, and surprisingly hilarious one-liners follow.
This movie does quite a bit right. The writing does a good job not bogging down in typical rom-com and wacky family stereotypes, and there are some genuine and very effective twists that shake things up as well as a moral backbone pretty much absent from the genre these days. The real success is the snappy one-liners. Mike Epps, as expected, does the most with them, but just about everyone gets a few. The ‘Lil Romeo/Tasha Smith reverse cougar subplot especially does well by them.
The fireworks come principally from the matriarchs, as Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine chew up their screen time in roles that easily could have become despicable stereotypes without the undercurrent of pathos they brought. A final raise of the glass has to be given to how damn gorgeous Paula Patton is, even if her character is a serious space cadet.
You can see the gears struggling
Can we retire the completely oblivious, unwittingly racist token white character already? Julie Bowen (yep, from Modern Family) does get to do a little bit more later in the film, but we’ve seen enough of this.
Fried chicken! Watermelon! Random horribly outdated slang word!
Several people have complained about how cluttered the end gets with various romantic subplots, but really there’s just one too many. The cook and the maid of honor don’t really add anything but more lusty eye-gazing and could have been cut out without a ripple. This beer is for how one more draft would have solved the biggest issue for most viewers.
This might not be playing fair, as this is a romantic comedy after all, but sometimes the melodrama and sentimentality reach more than average cheese levels. A healthy swig should get you through these moments and back into the story.
You might want something stronger for El DeBarge
I have seen far, far worse examples of the genre and there’s enough laughs for even the most reluctant boyfriend.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time Loretta Devine is no holds barred rude
Take a drink: every time someone insists God told them to do something
Take a drink: every time ‘Lil Romeo gets busted on for his age
Drink a Shot: every time you see the confused white kid at the wedding, Where’s Waldo-style