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Larry King is quoted on this BD's cover as saying Bringing Down the House is "one of the funniest films ever". Can that be true....?
Buena Vista / 105 Minutes / 2003 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: May 15, 2012
It's a good thing for Queen Latifah's career that she got Chicago. It's also a good thing for Eugene Levy that he has had such success with the American Pie flicks. But what of Mr. Steve Martin? Has he gone the way of the ultimate doom that has befallen his once funny and profitable peer, Eddie Murphy? Or has he just lost his sense of taste in projects? Well, despite horrible reviews, Bringing Down the House made a very Daddy Day Care-esque $132,000,000 at the domestic box office.
Not bad at all.
Alas, I'd love to say that Bringing Down the House is a great comedy and deserving of all that cash. I'd love to say that audiences these days have better taste than to dump out a gazillion dollars for a comedy that lacks any sense of style or flair. Or that folks would rather see an original comedy, or even a half-original comedy, that didn't lift every single comedic cliche in the book. I enjoy a good piecemeal flick if it's done right, but the only thing here that hasn't been seen before is the conclusion, which seems to have misread the flow chart leading to the obvious ending and goes bizarrely astray. Hanging tired racial stereotypes on the weakest of premises is quite bold (or lazy), if only because the filmmakers expected audiences would think it was a good idea. But once again, the fickle American audience has spoken.
Queen Latifah portrays Charlene, an ex-con who says she didn't do it. Steven Martin plays Peter, a powerful tax attorney who met Charlene online and under somewhat false pretenses sets a romantic date. Some misunderstandings take place and the mismatched couple soon find themselves needing each other. Charlene needs to be vindicated of her crime and Peter needs to have his life straightened out. Thank goodness for Eugene Levy, who provides the films only laughs as he whoops it up with Charlene as Peter's buddy and fellow attorney.
Latifah has made a big splash in Hollywood as an actress and Bringing Down the House marks her big screen debut as producer. Director Adam Shankman is also no stranger to (financial) success, but it seems he likes to stick with only one genre, the prescribed romantic comedy. At the end of the day, I was very disappointed by this film, mainly considering of all the talent involved. I hardly laughed at all. In fact, I've found more humor in stubbing my toe. But don't take my word for it as no matter what I say, you'll probably see it anyway. Can millions of American moviegoers be wrong?