Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jumping the Broom (2011)

Earlier this week I was running down my list of upcoming screenings with a friend. When I got to Jumping the Broom I described it as “second rate Tyler Perry, but less subtle.” Now, at that point I had not seen the film. I was literally basing the description on the fact that it was a mostly African-American cast in a movie produced by the Bishop T.D. Jakes. I had never actually watched one of Jakes' films before, but he's a Bishop, so I assumed he would beat me over the head with the holy roller stuff as soon as I sat down. By the end of the film I was surprised to find that, while the film has its, “Help me, Jesus,” scenes here and there that I can definitely do without, this is a solid piece of cinema.

The film opens on Sabrina, played by the beautiful Paula Patton (Precious), waking up from a one-night stand. While the dude is on his phone making plans for later that night with his girlfriend, Sabrina makes a deal with God that if he helps her leave this situation with a little dignity intact then she won't have sex again until she is married. The next scene is the meet-cute, where she hits her fiance-to-be (Laz Alonso) with a car, and after five months of dating (and holding out), he proposes.

Here is where it gets a little Green Acres. See, her family is all Martha's Vineyard, and his family is all Brooklyn, so you know sparks are going to fly! Also, Julie Bowen (Modern Family) is on hand as the wacky white wedding coordinator to say things like, “Man, you guys really love your chicken, don't you?”

Okay, the plot is a little hack, but there are some great performances in this film. Angela Bassett plays Sabrina's mom and, while stopping just short of chewing the scenery, manages to hold an acting clinic. A special career achievement award should also go to Mike Epps for finally giving a crap in a movie and attempting to act instead of just mugging for the camera.

The most surprising aspect of the film is the great work given by the director, Salim Akil, in his feature film debut. Best known for TV work on such series as Girlfriends and The Game, he shows a confidence lacking in directors that are on their tenth film, and he has no problem at all juggling the cast of seemingly dozens. While watching the film there were moments when it seemed to have been staged by Robert Altman. Akil is a name to watch for in the future.

I would hasten to guess that this movie isn't the usual fare that the average Movie Feast reader would watch. It's too religious, too sincere, too… un-jaded? All I'm saying is, if you're not feeling like a comic book movie this weekend, you could do worse than this. C'mon, let love open the door to your heart.

1 comment:

rex said...

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