Published May 05, 2011Like most urban romantic comedies, Salim Akil's directorial debut at first seems like a typical, light-hearted Tyler Perry movie that reverses race roles like a film under Neil Labute's direction. Jumping The Broom starts out with Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton), a gorgeous, uptown NYC lawyer who can't seem to stop giving her "cookies" to men who simply just want to sleep with her. After a chance encounter with a bloke she hits with her car named Jason (Laz Alonzo), she quickly falls in love with him and they become engaged, all before the opening credits.
Although it would have been far more enticing to see Sabrina's struggles of finding a man for a bit longer, director Salim Akil is set on making the film about the adversities of the upcoming nuptials and how Sabrina's uptown family (led by Angela Bassett) and Jason's downtown Brooklyn family (led by Loretta Devine) clash and bring unneeded drama, ruining the best laid plans for the wedding.
Despite the fact the film runs rampant with clichés, writers Elizabeth Hunter and Arlene Gibbs are able to bring unpredictable plot twists to the mix, and are able to poke fun at the genre while simultaneously embracing it. How refreshing it is to watch a film that points out that not all people who come from money are the ones with issues. And praise Jesus that an urban film was actually able to point out and question how a light-skinned woman is the daughter of a darker skinned woman. (Something The Cosby Show and many other TV series and films have failed to do.)
Jumping The Broom is full of light-hearted comedy and dysfunctional family drama, carried out effortlessly by the cast ― finally a movie that showcases a subtler Mike Epps! It's full of eye candy for both genders and features exceptional performances from both its veteran and up-and-coming actors. Julie Bowen especially deserves some recognition as the token white person, spewing some fairly inappropriate, yet memorable, dialogue.
Jumping the Broom doesn't strive to be original, but it does honour and value the romantic dramedy genre, exemplifying many of the genre's strengths and weaknesses. If you can get past the few stereotypical clichés and the El Debarge musical cameo, you'll find a fun, fast-paced and enjoyable dramedy that's as harmless as it is entertaining. (Sony)