Published May 01, 2004What do you do with a broken heart? After a devastating dumping think public humiliation, think running off to Paris with the best man, think dumped on the eve of the engagement announcement grief-stricken and slightly insane, Quincy Watson (Jamie Foxx) wrote a book.
Armed with the ethical employment termination research that his spineless boss cum editor Phillip Gascon (Ally McBeal's Peter MacNicol) requested, Quincy pens the break-up how-to-book The Break-Up Handbook. The "rules" act as an unforeseen blessing for Watson's cousin, Evan Fields. The well-known playa with a solid three-month commitment mantra tests the new manual with great success.
The following months are filled with public appearances, talk shows and book signings for Quincy, until the day Evan attempts to return to his ole faithful rule. Enter Nicky Callas (Gabrielle Union), an infamous Halle Berry-inspired haircut and the uttering of a misinterpreted phrase, and various mistaken identities ensue.
Quincy falls for Nicky in a bar not knowing she is his cousin's girlfriend and Evan meets Gascon's gold-digging, position-retaining girlfriend Rita Monroe (Jennifer Esposito) while posing as her boyfriend's break-up mentor, Quincy. Comedic missteps and follies follow each of the many characters, all playing necessary supporting roles to funny man Foxx, and ending in a fairy tale finale for all.
But that is part of the problem with this romantic comedy. The secondary characters are way too important to the story's flow. Breakin' All The Rules does not let Foxx's signature style shine through, it recycles the quirky lawyer character MacNicol made famous on Ally McBeal and, essentially, sits on the shoulders of the smart comedic charm of Union.
Luckily for Foxx, there are enough endearing characters (Nicky's elderly patient is truly side-splitting) and witty repartee (thanks to director Daniel Laplitz' cleaver script) that aide in the retention of his humorous reputation. (Columbia/Sony)n