Sunday, January 01, 2012

Jumping the Broom

One problem I faced while working at The Happiest Place in the Mall all those years ago (its been almost two years?  wow...) was defending the honor of Pixar... many times someone would come in asking for a piece of crap like "Valiant" or "Doogal" or "Happily N'Ever" after, and when I tell them that first of all, those movies suck, secondly, they are idiots for wanting those movies because their kids would never, ever want those movies (unless they are in a coma...) and third, those aren't Disney movies anyway, someone would invariably go "Oh, that's not a Pixar movie?  I thought it was."  After I punched them in the throat and begged them not to cast a ballot in the next presidential elections, I explained that no, those aren't Pixar.

No ma'am, "Doogal" is not Pixar.  Please get out of my store.  Don't ever
come back.  
Sidebar--"Valiant" is not a Disney film, per se--it was produced by British movie company Vanguard--it was released in the US by Walt Disney Pictures.  Full disclosure and all.

It is this same "guilty by only slightly similiar" mentality that I think plagued black filmmakers when doing comedies or black family movies.  Its quite possible that if I worked for the BET store in the mall, any and all black films that we sold would be immediately thought of as Tyler Perry movies, no matter what.  I personally have never seen a Tyler Perry movie, but only because I just never got to it.  I always thought "I Can Do Bad All By Myself" looked like an interesting story, but never enough to make me seek it out. 

And Tyler Perry has two camps... people who like 'em and people who don't.  Unfortunately for movies like "Jumping the Broom", I think people will avoid this because they think Medea is going to pop up somewhere out of a wedding cake... and thats sad, really, because this film is actually quite charming.

"Jumping the Broom" tells the story of a brotha', Jason (Laz Alonzo), who comes from a poorer side of town, and his fiance, Sabrina (Paula Patton), who comes from a well to do family that seemingly has a whole lotta money.  The movie takes place over the course of the weekend of their wedding, and not only shows the struggle of Jason and Sabrina, but also their mothers, Mrs. Taylor (Loretta Devine) and Mrs. Watson (Angela Bassett).  

Its a family movie, with TD Jakes playing a small role as the reverend, and even shows Sabrina doing her best to wait until marriage for she and Jason to consummate.  Kinda refreshing, actually.  Matter of fact, the names of God and Jesus are used frequently, and... okay, get ready for this... some of the characters... PRAY.  

Like, not silly, stupid, mocking prayers... but actually, talking to God, asking for help, giving praise kind of prayers.  

The ensemble cast also includes Julie Bowen (the token white girl, as a wedding coordinator in over her head), Gary Dourdan as Chef (its nice to see Warrick Brown getting some work after his untimely death on CSI), Romeo as a young Romeo no longer "Lil", and Mike Epps, as Uncle Willie Earl in a surprising role--he plays the wise, sage uncle.  The Lovely Steph Leann even said, "I expected Mike Epps to be the thug, but he's actually kinda cool in this..."

Paula Patton
The story is light and fun, it moves along quickly and has several great laughing moments, though I will say what Mrs. Taylor does towards the end of the movie isn't met with enough consequences--her actions are horrible, and I'd like to think in the real world, she would get flat out shunned from the wedding.  Just sayin'.

Anyway, the title itself comes from an old wedding ceremony custom where a new bride and groom literally jump over a broom-type article laid at the alter to officialize their union.

By the way, Paula Patton?  A great romantic comedy lead.  She was perfectly bratty in "Just Wright" and here, she's a great almost-bratty bride.  However, I'm really struggling with her as an action star in "Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol".

But we'll get to that review in a few posts.

Anyway, check out "Jumping the Broom", its worth the 90 minutes.

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