Directed by: Salim Akil
Starring: Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Meagan Good
I’m really hoping the two-and-a-half stars I’m giving Jumping the Broom truly displays how indifferent I am about this movie. Three stars might seem like a recommendation, two might look like the film put in the effort to make me actively dislike it. But there is no effort in this movie, just a bunch of lazy plotting slathered over a lazy premise.
Here we have a by-the-numbers plot about a wedding where the bride and groom’s families are from different sides of the tracks, and comedy built around the predictably disastrous interactions and general misunderstandings between the two camps. In this case, the bride Sabrina (Paula Patton, Just Wright) comes from a wealthy, affluent family, while her betrothed, Jason (Laz Alonso, Just Wright), grew up in a blue collar background.
There’s one pretty good scene during a rehearsal dinner that does a good job handling both class and race issues, but this kind on astuteness is unfortunately rare. Instead everyone mostly bickers, which is somehow supposed to be entertaining, but becomes more annoying than anything else. The side effect of all this is a movie filled with characters who just aren’t likable. Not detestable or anything just like that, just mildly obnoxious and immature. It’s one of those movie-reality situations that wouldn’t even exist (be still my heart) if everyone could simply act like polite adults for a few minutes.
Familial tensions aren’t enough for this movie, however. We’ve got to add a heaping dose of melodrama to all this, and not the good, overheated kind of melodrama that’s—I don’t know—entertaining. No, this is all pretty lackluster stuff, used to inject a few more moments of screentime into a shoddy storyline. The end result is a movie that feels more like a bad soap opera full of characters you’re given no reason to care—or root—for, played by people (like Patton and Angela Bassett) who deserve better roles. There are numerous different plotlines involving various deep, dark secrets and forbidden romances and all that junk, but there are so many that the movie itself can’t even keep up with them. By the time Jumping the Broom finally exhausts itself into an ending, many of these storylines are still unresolved or simply forgotten.
Since the film is produced by pastor T.D. Jakes, there’s a bit of Christianity stuck in here and there. This is mostly evident in Sabrina’s pact with God to stop putting out (or as she so eloquently puts it—like some repressed housewife—giving away her “cookies”) before she’s married. This comes mixed in with occasional bits of scripture quoting, but there’s not enough of it to blunt the general sense of sexual frankness. It all feels like warmed-over Tyler Perry, except Jakes doesn’t have the business sense to dress in drag. Whatever the case, the whole movie is pretty indifferent, which might be the worst thing a movie can be. Rated PG-13 for some sexual content.