Bringing Down the House
With an unlikely duo like Steve Martin and Queen Latifah, both respected actors in their own right, you are bound for success, right?
You’ve got star power, so what could possibly go wrong? Oh yeah, the script.
Talented actors can only take a film so far when its headed downhill after the first five minutes. Bringing Down The House, directed by Adam Shankman (A Walk to Remember) takes Steve Sanderson (Steve Martin, Father of the Bride), a WASPy tax attorney, through a journey of unlikely love. Like so many other of the modern age he makes his dates online. But when escaped convict Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah, Chicago) surprisingly shows up at his door this guy-next-door is in for a few surprises.
The movie’s most obvious weakness is in its political correctness, or the lack thereof. Morton spends her time trying to teach Sanderson to “get freaky” all while Sanderson’s associate Howie Rosenthal (Eugene Levy, American Pie) is “getting tangled up all in the game.” All of the characters are so outrageously stereotypical and a little offensive.
The film becomes plainly absurd with the introduction of Sanderson’s utterly racist neighbor (Betty White) who still thinks blacks are “Negroes” and that Latin Americans mow lawns.
The attempts at comedy soon become embarrassing and undermine the talented stars. With an uninteresting supporting cast, including an aunt who only dates much older men for their money, we’re left wondering where these people come from and how they became so obtuse.
Luckily the film wasn’t titled “In Da Houze” as originally intended. While the characters are trying to ‘talk the Ebonics talk and walk the walk’, they seem to stumble across da room. This film ‘ain’t off the hizook, dawg.’ It is most decidedly ‘whack.’