Movie News

Capone says great acting makes JUMPING THE BROOM something more than a weak melodrama!!!

Published at: May 6, 2011, 12:48 a.m. CST by Capone

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

When you clear away about a half the extraneous cast members who were put in this film primarily for comic relief, JUMPING THE BROOM is actually quite a strong African-American melodrama, featuring some of the finest actors of a couple of generations and a beautiful setting in which they can rip each other apart before coming back together. The core of the film is a wedding on Martha's Vineyard between a handsome couple named Sabrina and Jason (Paula Patton and Laz Alonso). Although Jason has apparently met Sabrina's parents (Angela Bassett and Brian Stokes Mitchell as Mrs. and Mr. Watson) prior to the wedding, somehow Jason has managed to hide his mother (Loretta Devine as Mrs. Taylor) from his bride to be. Already things are off to a bad start.

The story is simple. The Watsons are rich and own a compound on the Vineyard. Bassett is convinced Mitchell is cheating on her, although the family is loaded with secrets, all of which are revealed in this long weekend surrounding the wedding. Meanwhile, Mrs. Taylor and some of her close friends and family are less well off, but make the journey from their low-paying lives to attend the ceremony, allowing the culture and class war to begin. And that's really all you need to know. Things get silly, thanks in large part of the Taylor party, which includes Mike Epps, DeRay Davis and Tyler Perry favorite Tasha Smith.

The Watsons supply most of the film's dramatic moments, and I have to admit, seeing such great theater vets like Bassett, Mitchell and Valarie Pettiford (as Bassett's free-spirited sister) get a chance to unleash their dramatic fury on each other. Director Salim Akil (creator of such TV shows as "The Game," "Girlfriends" and "Soul Food") has a flare for letting the emotions take control of a scene; I'm not as impressed with his handling of comedy, which seems to consist of letting Epps do and say whatever he wants, whether it's funny or not. The exception to this is the weird presence of Julie Bowen ("Modern Family") as wedding planner Amy, who is as aware as anyone that she is the only white person at this event (or in this movie), and rather than cower, she cuts loose with a string of very funny observations about those around her.

JUMPING THE BROOM doesn't break any new ground in black cinema, but there is a healthy discussion and consideration for culture and tradition. There aren't too many surprises to be had in the plot either. But sometimes it's enough to let great actors (and a few lesser ones) just do their thing, even if some of what they're saying and doing is contrived and predictable. I'm not making allowances or apologies for the film's shortcomings. But there's more than enough substance here to blow just about any Tyler Perry movie out of the water. I think that's saying something.

-- Capone
capone@aintitcool.com
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Readers Talkback

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  • May 6, 2011, 12:51 a.m. CST

    for anybody sold out of MADEA this weekend

    by Stifler's Mom

    and that title SUCKS

  • May 6, 2011, 12:56 a.m. CST

    Jumping the Broom?!

    by The Bear

    Isn't that what poor people do when they can't afford chalk for hopscotch? Badum-dum. Thank you. I'll be here all night.

  • May 6, 2011, 1 a.m. CST

    But Seriously...

    by The Bear

    It sounds like one of those movies where they had a lousy script, but got a lot of talented actors to raise it to a better level. Seems to happen a lot in Hollywood (and out). You'd think if they had that much talent on the screen, they'd work harder to get the goods behind the screen. Too bad.

  • May 6, 2011, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Anyone think the Tide commercial is racist?

    by SentryDoody

    we discussed it in my racial construct class; its the one where the dad finds his teen daughter's shortassed skirt, wipes his greasy hands on it so she can't wear it, and of course Tide gets the stain out so she trots off on a date, with dad dismayed as s**t. If you notice, hip hop plays in the background throughout the commerical, with suggestive lyrics by black male vocals; so, about a month ago the commerical got trimmed, so the ending in which the peice of white teen ass goes off on her date is gone. I think its because the implication was that this underage white girl was going out to meet some black dude, and made some people uncomfortable; i mean who gives a sh*t anyway, but I thought it was funny. Oh and Jumping the Broom looks like a f***ing minstrel show.

  • May 6, 2011, 4:33 a.m. CST

    Jumping the broom?

    by The StarWolf

    Ranks right down there along with GIRL, INTERRUPTED and THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD in terms of movies with dopey (as in not just 'no', but 'hell, no!') titles.

  • May 6, 2011, 7:17 a.m. CST

    Is this movie really being reviewed on this site??

    by Rob

    I come here to AVOID reviews for movies like this! WTF....

  • May 6, 2011, 7:21 a.m. CST

    I love weekends like this

    by gooseud

    It means I can go to all the other movies being released without people talking/commentating/answering phone calls through the whole thing. This is why Madea is the best thing to ever happen to modern cinema, its a no-rudeness pass for the weekend!

  • May 6, 2011, 7:36 a.m. CST

    I probably won't see it, nonetheless

    by BlaGyver

    It's cool occasionally hearing that movies like these aren't awful. A few years ago AICN got in a few positive reviews for that Ryan Reynolds movie Definitely, Maybe. Saw it on a whim because Step Up and Jumper were my only two other options. Ended up being a pretty good romantic comedy with some good bits.

  • May 6, 2011, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Hey Capone

    by LastStop2006

    Why is it whenever a film that stars "African American's" you and every reviewer always needs to stress that when you start off. Can't it just be a "Strong Melodrama" without having to add African American. Not once do I ever hear or read anyone as a critic say on similar films that star a white cast "This was A fine caucasion melodrama, comedy, Horror film ect". Obviously from the trailers this is a black lead film thank you for pointing it out again (I wasn't certain myself) instead of just watching the movie as what it is a movie that just happens not to have hollywood's precious sacred "white people". In order for us as a nation to improve with race relations stop pointing out race every time it's not a typical white cast that nobody ever points out. Just watch the movie! let's see if you for future reviews if you can leave out "African American". Bet you can't! Just becuase it's a black cast also doesn't mean every person of color is from "AFRICA" blacks comes from all over so to generalize a continent is just ignorant. Just like white people come from all over.

  • May 6, 2011, 8:27 a.m. CST

    jumping the broom

    by xphyle

    for any of you less educated readers of this site, jumping the broom is an african american tradition that harkens back to slavery times when slaves married each other. it was a ceremony. that being said i will not be going to see this. i for one am extremely sick of these types of movies that pander to african americans. its the tyler perry effect.

  • Every movie that comes out basically uses the same structure in that sense. Though on the other side of the coin if there are any movies focused on action or fantasy or superhero based with a majority black cast suddenly the fanboys whine about affirmative action casting and shit, so I can kinda see why they choose to go this route.

  • May 6, 2011, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Laststop

    by lecter1914

    I was thinking the same thing myself. Capone actually always does that. He actually addressed me some time ago when he did it for a film *whose name escapes me, but I think it may have been For Colored Girls* and I called him on it. A lot of more professional critics do the same thing. Everytime the film has a predominantly black cast its a "black film." *sigh* But hey, at least he reviewed it.

  • Not really, you gave me a good belly laugh

  • May 6, 2011, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Gooseud..

    by Hipshot

    I felt the same way when Larry the Cable Guy's movie, or any other Hillbilly wetdream movie comes out.

  • May 6, 2011, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Xphyle - The title

    by The StarWolf

    So the film's title is the director/writer's way of telling me "If you don't get the reference, the film's not for you"? I'll buy that. And then stay away.

  • May 6, 2011, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Jumping the Broom?

    by JaguarWong

    Hell, the Finns -- you know, people in Finland -- jump the FIRE.

  • May 6, 2011, 11:14 a.m. CST

    To say all black movies have the same structure..

    by Hipshot

    Is just ignorance. Sure, I don't like all the Tyler Perry stuff. But there are also crime dramas, dope comedies, "'hood stories" and spoofs like "Black Dynomite". The Perry stuff plays to a particular audience in the Black Belt "chitlin' circuit", a market tremendously underserved by mainstream Hollywood product. So these movies are fitting into that niche the same way Blaxploitation movies fed off a lack of strong black male images.

  • It's like anything outside of the protective womb of the suburbs is persona - non - grata.

  • Get down!

  • May 6, 2011, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Hipshot, thats fair, I feel the same way

    by gooseud

    Its a class thing, not a race thing. If you think that the weekend Fast Five came out wasnt a perfect weekend to go check out Source Code, Hanna, or any other movie you dont want ruined by people of whoever race using it as an opportunity to express their standup comedy routine or answer their cell phones, your crazy. Besides, who cares? If black people got on here and were like "Man, I'm glad Larry the Cable Guy's movie came out this weekend, I dont have all those white boys clogging up the latest Tyler Perry movie", am I supposed to be all offended? Who gives a shit? I mean, thats an accurate statement.

  • May 6, 2011, 12:51 p.m. CST

    sentrydoody

    by The Garbage Man

    Racism never occurred to me with that Tide commercial; I just assumed the music was meant to convey that the girl is going out to party. Far more curious to me is the overt message of the commercial: "Hey moms! Buy Tide detergent so you can help your daughter dress like a whore!"

  • May 6, 2011, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Gooseud..

    by Hipshot

    Not the response I expected. Good for you! I agree that the problem is classless people, of whom there are too many, black, white, or whatever. For what its worth, you just put a smile on my face. Thanks.

  • May 6, 2011, 3:16 p.m. CST

    This Summer Harry Potter and Friends are Jumping The Broom!

    by Smartacus

    I'm afraid that when you have a movie with a predominantly black cast that's named after a practice that harkens back to some slavery era tradition and that will be seen almost exclusively by black people then that makes it a "black movie". The problem isnt' with people looking at "Tyler Perry's Dramatic Black People" and saying "Oh, that's a black movie". The problem is with anyone thinking there's anything wrong with calling it that. It's like looking at Pride and Prejudice and saying "That's a chick flick" or Monsters Inc. and saying "That's for kids". Sure you might be a guy and like Pride & Prejudice or be an adult and enjoy Monsters Inc. but calling a spade a spade (ahh shuddup, I know what I did) isn't wrong. It's not wrong to state the obvious and it doesn't make you a racist either. I come to AICN to read about genre movies though and stuff like this just makes me think "Couldn't care less, next..."

  • May 6, 2011, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Smartacus

    by lecter1914

    It is racist. I never see movies liek Something Borrowed or Limitless or The Hangover being referred to as "white movies" yet they have predominantly white casts. The issue is that when something is perceived as "unusual" a label has to be put on it and since Hollywood doesnt pump out movies with black actors...it has to be labeled as a "black" movie. I'd call it a chick flick for sure but to call it a "black" film automatically marginalizes the film.

  • May 6, 2011, 9:20 p.m. CST

    I double dog dare Capone

    by LastStop2006

    To address all white casted movies as such in the first sentence!!! He just won't do it He just CANT do it! Capone take a stand and try something revolutionary, try just reviewing all movies the same without pointing out race which we can obviously see for ourselves in the trailers. Question for you I double dog you to answer publicly..Why do you (and basically every single reviewer) feel the need to always point out the race of non white casted movies anyway!?

  • May 6, 2011, 9:32 p.m. CST

    lecter1914

    by Smartacus

    No, it's not. The problem isn't with people who see Jumping the Broom and say/think "black movie". The problem is with people like you who look at that reaction and say "Racist" because you assume that it marginalizes the film. Do you think for even a moment that the filmmaker thought "I'm going to make a movie from an entirely black point of view starring a bunch of black actors and I will be shocked, nay appalled if it isn't a huge success in the white, hispanic, and asian communities". Of course not. It's a black film because it was made for predominantly black audiences. Name one movie that was made by black filmmakers, starred almost entirely black actors, and told a story from a black perspective that was intended to appeal to everyone on earth. Just one. (If you say The Color Purple I will find you and slap you with a salmon right in your baby nuts). You can't because it doesn't exist. There's a huge pile of chick flicks out there and nobody thinks they're marginalized when they're called chick flicks. There are movies aimed at every imaginable segment of the human race and only with black films do you see people start crying racist when someone says "That's a black film". There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that you are not part of the target demographic for a film or television show. It's not racist. You just don't know any other way to respond to it but to say that.

  • May 6, 2011, 9:54 p.m. CST

    All of the other comments deleted??!!

    by LastStop2006

    Really C?!!! Come on dude.

  • May 6, 2011, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Smartacus

    by LastStop2006

    So bsically you are saying the only mainstream type of movies is a all white cast. Who doesn't like Vanilla Ice Cream right..My thing is there is no need to point out race in the movie from a reviewer when it's a non white cast. When people say chicks flicks just like most action films are considered GUY flicks that's not targeting a race at all. Chick Flicks can appeal to all races so can GUy flicks...But again when it's a BLACK cast race always needs to be pointed out. To me this movie is a chick flick that appeals to all races. I guess white women wouldn't want to see black people in love is that right?

  • May 7, 2011, 7:07 a.m. CST

    JUMPING THE BROOM

    by BSB

    Is that a sex act?

  • May 7, 2011, 12:39 p.m. CST

    bsb

    by victor_von_gloom

    Nope, "JUMPING THE BROOM" came about during the days of slavery and the beginning of the Jim Crow era, when white folks didn't allow slaves/blacks to marry in the traditional sense...So they (the slaves/blacks) started the tradition of JUMPING THE BROOM as a gesture to symbolize their own union between husband and wife.

  • May 7, 2011, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Paula Patton is HELLA FINE...

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    ...but I find it kind of insulting she was cast the the kind teacher in Precious, and she had the lightest skin tone of any of the black actors in that film. "Okay, it's a 'Black Movie', but we can't have the teacher character be TOO black". It's just like those other "inspirational teacher" movies where a good-looking white person is the one to inspire those downtrodden "ethnic" students to aim a little higher.

  • May 7, 2011, 5:21 p.m. CST

    lasstop2006 do me a favor

    by Smartacus

    Define "Mainstream" for me please. Yes, "mainstream" movies are all up in that vanilla demographic. Movie makers are interested in selling as many tickets as possible so they focus on the largest audience group. This is common knowledge. Why are there websites like 'blackclassicmovies dot com" or "blackflix dot com"? Why do black directors and actors make reference regularly to "black film"? I refuse to believe that everyone involved in something like black film can say "black film" but a reviewer is a racist if he mentions that it's a black film. That's the most idiotic thing I can imagine. Do reviewers have to take one in the ass before they can call a television show or movie by and for homosexuals a "gay film"? Calling a black film what it is isn't targeting the film in any way, shape, or form. That right there is at the heart of the problem. Perhaps you can find an inane politically correct euphemism for "black film" so we can all not offend anyone when describing one.

  • May 7, 2011, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Smartacus

    by LastStop2006

    By no means am I calling anyone RACIST for pretty much always stating in their review the race of cast. I'm just making a point that a lot of reviewers do it and more then likely it's unintentional but being of someone of color as myself it's quite irritating because I never look at a white casted film and say "wow that looks like a really good white movie" or come out of Die Hard and say "Wow that was a kick ass white action flick". You would have to be in my shoes to truly understand. The reason I guess you can say white casted films are considered mainstream is only because HOLLYWOOD has saturated the movie going audience with mostly all white casted (Save for one token black, asian, hispanic ect cast member)..Movies are made from all over the world and most of them are not soley white casted. The reason there are sites like Blackfilm.com or why Black directors.actors mention black film ect is because Hollywood has created such a small market that these sites need to be created to bring attention to movies that feature people of color. Sadly most black movies ARE the typical crap that makes other viewers roll their eyes the time they see a trailer or read a review. Hell You wouldnt catch me watching a MADEA flick it's just too shuck and jive for me. This is because White run Hollywood basically will only fund these type of movies. Yes they make money but that also because being the small margin of black casted movies that do get produced and since the studios know they are mostly crap we go and support them to keep our fellow brotha and sista actors, directors working. When you go to them with an amazing story that;s not the typical Black fare it's like pulling teeth to get a suit to pull the trigger and greenlight. Here you have great films from around the world by great foriegn directors with non white cast and it is never mentioned about the race. They have great stories and that's what we get wrapped into not the color of the actor's skin. Being a person as myself who actually does work in Hollywood for a major TV network and have produced a few TV movies I can tell you the mindset from the powers is that WHITE is always basically right to cast. Throw in the token color actor and we have ourself a movie. Let me ask you Smartacus why do you think just because a film is mostly white casted that it's acceptable to be mainstream? The funny thing is WHITE people are the MINORITY on this planet compared to the MAJORITY of people of various shades around the world. The reason Hollywood feels casting white is mainstream is yes Hollywood produced films are the biggest films period across this globe so they look at If reviewers are going to Label films that have a black, Latino,Asian, Gay cast then it should be equal across the board and that means why not mention the race of the white cast also. Why should there be any special treatment. Hollywood just needs to start having a little faith that as long as you have a kick ass story with solid actors color doesn't matter. I'm amped that ATTACK THE BLOCK is getting rave reviews which is testimony that you don't need a white cast to make a very mainstream movie that people of ALL color with pay to see

  • May 7, 2011, 9:18 p.m. CST

    I don't have to be in anyones shoes to understand...

    by Smartacus

    ...that 80% of the US population is white and that simple percentage alone means that films cast with primarily white actors are indeed "mainstream". This is changing and that's fine and dandy, a good thing even but a movie aimed at primarily a black audience plays to that 80% of the US much like a movie made in India for a primarily Indian audience or a movie made in China for Chinese audiences might play. It's more accessible because there's no subtitle barrier These films are being seen by more "mainstream" audiences. People are starting to show a willingness to watch movies that are outside their comfort zone but Hollywood is slow to respond to that. Make no mistake, Hollywood isn't going to do anything on faith. Money talks and when black films begin to pull in larger audiences (for whatever reason, great movie/story/actors or just because white audiences are finally willing to go see a story that isn't necessarily about "them") then Hollywood will be there to shove money down their throats and crank out endless sequels of their films. Then black films can suck as much as "mainstream films" and we'll all be equal.

  • May 7, 2011, 9:51 p.m. CST

    Black casted films..

    by LastStop2006

    Wont make the big mega millions anytime soon simply because Hollywood refuses to take the first step and make a mega budget blockbuster or a movie that has a solid story that just HAPPENS to have a black cast to see if it will even do big business because Hollywood is shamefully small minded. So how can viewers flock to something that Hollywood isn't providing except the same tired narrow minded story lines that's the problem. Obviously if Hollywood only focuses on casting whites for their more presitge/blockbuster flicks and that's all they are filling screens with we as a audience have no choice but to throw our hard earned bucks at the Box Office because Hollywood doesn't give any other option entertainment wise. People of all races Loved Wesley Snipes as BLADE simply because he ROCKED as a bad ass vampire killer and kicked ass not just because he was black. That's the way its supposed to be and should always be. I believe today's White going audience is more willing to pay for movies that have a ethnic cast as long as it looks kick ass. After all Obama didn;t become president just because of black votes.

  • May 8, 2011, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Y review this movie here?

    by BrooklynBred

    While I plan on seeing it next weekend. Of course I saw Thor this weekend. It has nothing to do with Sci-Fi so the majority of people here are not going to care and it opens the door for cowards to say racist crap then accuse Black people of being overly sensitive.

  • May 8, 2011, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Disagree with something = It's racist

    by Smartacus

    I don't get it. I see a world full of people who are proud of black film and a handful of people who think that if you call a black film a "black film" it's racist. I understand the first group and will never be able to understand the second. It's fucked up when people are so screwed up by the idea that even minute details like this must necessarily stem from some kind of hidden racist agenda.