Jumping the Broom Directed by: Salim Akil Cast: Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Meagan Good, Mike Epps, Tasha Smith, DeRay Davis, Romeo Miller, Pooch Hall Running Time: 1 hr 50 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: May 6, 2011
PLOT: Two families are forced to coexist at a tumultuous wedding at Martha's Vineyard.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Anyone who likes to go to weddings to both watch people fight, and to also laugh with some of the crazier relatives. Being a fan of Mike Epps nearly guarantees enjoyment of this movie.
EXPECTATIONS: A lot of familiar faces are on this poster. Regardless of how good or bad the drama is, it's gotta be somewhat funny, right?
Paula Patton as Sabrina Watson: She just wants things to go right. Even when things are getting really crazy, Patton's semi-squeaky clean character maintains a sweetness that we can refer to. Score: 6
Angela Bassett as Mrs. Watson: She's stuck up, but we don't hate her. Mrs. Watson is kind of tragic with her false pretentiousness, and the way that money has, as her husband says, "changed her." Certainly the most turgid character of the cast, don't expect any laughs to come from her. Just a lot of drama, and the same amount of stress. Score: 5
Laz Alonso as Jason Taylor: Outside of his ridiculous proposal, this Prince Charming from downtown isn't really the focus of the story. He's not a particularly memorable part of this tale, especially since he's easily overshadowed by his much more colorful cast members. Score: 4
Loretta Devine as Mrs. Taylor: The usually kind Devine takes things a little overboard here with a bitter character that seems to start drama just for the sake of causing more ripples in an already nutty family event. Her actions alone seem to create thirty minutes of needless drama. Throughout the movie she can be pretty feisty, but sometimes it's frustratingly so. Score: 5
Rest of Cast: Meagan Good usually has more of a presence, but she's in this movie for a few scenes, for no other reason than to be Meagan Good. As I said above, Mike Epps is hilarious here. It might be his funniest work since All About the Benjamins. Offering some of his own comedic weight is DeRay Davis. Score: 6
TALKING: The film's biggest element, dialogue, is fairly sharp in both comedic and dramatic moments. Most of the film's humor comes from its barrage of wisecracks, which are fired out by Mike Epps. On the other hand, the film's confrontational scenes (of which there are many) are handled with mostly authentic timing and some good bite. Score: 6
SIGHTS: Nova Scotia is used to resemble Martha's Vineyard, which fooled me. The film's pacing is decent, even though it's very start and stop - it fully hits the brakes after accelerating into a confrontation that you know is going to get messy. Score: 6
SOUNDS: The Jumping the Broom soundtrack features a mix of popular artists. Brandy and Tyrese cover "La Vie en Rose" for a montage in the film. Bruno Mars' "Marry You" is used during the opening credits. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: The biggest laugh from the movie comes from Epps' response to Devine's bitter dinner blessing. "If that was a blessing, you're going to hell."
ENDING: A broom does indeed get jumped.
REWATCHABILITY: This movie has one more enjoyable view in it, before the jokes would get a bit tired. But of its genre, this is one of the more enjoyable African-American comedies I've seen in a long time.
Jumping the Broom is a tad bipolar. In some instances, it can fly high with some great riff-raff between its loaded cast. Within the same scene, it can careen deep into some mega drama. But with this smashing together of comedy and drama, Jumping the Broom maintains an entertainment value that is relatively enjoyable. The film's many confrontations don't feel gratuitous, but genuine. While Loretta Devine's character is engineered to be a troublemaker, looking to start something wherever she goes, it's not drama for the sake of drama. And it's good squabbling too - try not feeling involved when a certain lead character says defiantly in the third act, "... I wouldn't let her." Jumping the Broom covers a lot of dramatic areas, from baby mama drama to adultery anxiety to financial worrying, but it's followed through with a mindset that is tired of drama being off-the-handle. Jumping the Broom has got things in control.
With one of this year's stacked casts, Jumping the Broom provides at least one laugh about every other scene. Though you may be glad to not be in the fracas yourself, it's still fun to watch the many characters of Jumping the Broom try to clean up the mess they've made for each other.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10