BigSPEEGS Movie Reviews
Bringing Down the House

BigSPEEGS rates this film:



Now class, did everyone pay attention to the movie?  What did we learn from "Bringing Down the House"?  Anyone?  Was anyone paying attention?  Well, let me refresh your memory!  This "comedy" tells us: all black people are club-hopping gangstas with attitude (and to each and every one a criminal record!); and all white people are stuffy, humorless, filthy rich bastards who don't know what it's like to live in a less than 4-bedroom house.  See the magic of the movies at work? 


If that doesn't encourage you to save your money, then I'll humor you with a plot synopsis.  Steve Martin plays Peter Sanderson, a divorced lawyer who spends his lonely nights alone in his home, chatting on the internet with someone with the screen name of "LaywerGirl".  He arranges to meet her at his house, when he gets much more than he bargained for.  "LawyerGirl" is in fact an escaped convict named Charlene Morton (Queen Latifa, who played another Morton in the Oscar-winning "Chicago").  She spent all that time in law-oriented chat rooms to meet someone who could try and help prove that she was innocent in an armed robbery case.  She helps Sanderson get his life (and wife) back, while she and a friend of Sanderson's (Howie Rosenthal, played by Eugene Levy) live happily ever after... ops; did I give away the ending?


The first question I had in my mind after seeing this was, "who wrote this?" (the answer would be Jason Filardi).  Watching all the racial stereotypes being played out (of both white and black people; this film is an equal opportunity offender), I almost couldn't believe that there was an ignoramus out there who would think this is funny!  The film does its best to try and prove that "no, really, we're not predjudiced..." sneaking in little lines here and there trying to prove the its worth; such as one moment when Latifa's character shows that she can "Speak White".  Scenes like this only continue to, how should I put this politely... bring down this house?


Another question I had: why would Queen Latifa ever sign up for this kind of job?  It's bad enough that she agreed to act in it, but apparently, she had a hand in the "creative" process as well; she's credited as an executive producer.  Queen Latifa, a very talented performer and all-around class act, has deservedly become a huge celebrity after her terrific turn in "Chicago".  However, what does it say for someone who agrees to help head a project like this?  And what about Eugene Levy?  A few years ago, he was the best part of both "American Pie" movies, since then, he's done plenty of movies.  So tell me, why does he play the same character every single time?  Who thought it was such a hot idea to keep repeating the same shtick over and over and over again?  Maybe I was mistaken, but I thought he could be a little smarter than that.  Maybe the fact that all the newspaper ads for this movie quote one of his lines ("#1 Movie In America, Boo!") should tell me that those who aren't repeatedly busting their guts over him are in the minority.


Maybe I'm being too harsh.  But the really sad part about all this is, Latifa and Martin have excellent chemistry.  There is one scene that dabbles in hilarity; when Latifa's character tries to teach Martin's how to be sexy.  There's humor in this otherwise generic situation because Martin and Latifa manage to rise above the material; they just do whatever seems right and let themselves go.  My note to studio executives: let Latifa and Martin stay together for another movie; but in the name of good comedy, I demand a better script!

Steve Martin ....  Peter Sanderson
Queen Latifah ....  Charlene Morton
Eugene Levy (I) ....  Howie Rosenthal
Joan Plowright ....  Mrs. Arness
Jean Smart ....  Kate Sanderson
Kimberly J. Brown ....  Sarah Sanderson
Angus T. Jones ....  Georgey Sanderson
Missi Pyle ....  Ashley
Michael Rosenbaum ....  Todd Gendler
Betty White (I) ....  Mrs. Kline

Running Time: 105 minutes
"Bringing Down the House" is rated PG-13 for language, sexual humor and drug material.

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