Jumping the Broom [Blu-Ray] Salim Akil

Jumping the Broom [Blu-Ray] Salim Akil
The cover art for Jumping the Broom divides the cast into two boxes that read, "The Taylors are Downtown" and "The Watsons are uptown." In the centre, together but divided, are Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) and Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso), dressed for a wedding, which lets us know that these two worlds are about to collide, sort of like Our Family Wedding, but without Mexicans or sex scenes involving Forrest Whitaker and a goat. As the title suggests – referring to the slave tradition of literally jumping a broom prior to being allowed to legally marry – this is a film of the urban variety where we're reminded that white folk are all repressed and uptight. But here there is a slight twist on the formula that smartly plays with the negative implications of assimilating to an antiquated white, Judeo-Christian, heteronormative set of behaviours and values, as the Watsons essentially play the role of a clichéd, upper-crust white family, hosting a wedding in Martha's Vineyard. It's not a subtle message, with the Taylors doling out lines like, "If you keep fightin' progress, you gonna be on the wrong side of history" or more amusingly, "Gurl, Whatchou think I'm lookin' at? It's August in the Vineyard; I'm lookin' for Barack and Michelle! But it's a message nonetheless. Much comedy is milked from the juxtaposition of archetypes, with the Taylors using bidets for the first time and remarking about the crappiness of rich-folk food while the Watsons secretly scarf down a sweet potato pie that Mrs. Taylor (Loretta Devine) baked. And while many of these jokes work extremely well, as does the in-your-face limitation of white characters to periphery servant roles, there are some serious issues with tone that make the overall experience somewhat of an unbalanced and awkwardly melodramatic mess. Because there isn't an actual vision beyond ensuring that all of the appropriate actors are within a given shot, things go off the rails whenever the mood is supposed to shift from light-hearted to serious, making it difficult to actually become invested in the many dramatic revelations and character arcs. Of course, if you decide to play the Jumping the Broom drinking game, wherein you take a swig every time someone references a broom, or a broom is shown, you'll be way too hammered to notice these inconsistencies by the time they come around. Included with the Blu-Ray is a very chatty commentary track, along with a little more information on the tradition of jumping the broom and a standard studio behind-the-scenes. (Sony)