Not too long ago, I set two of my friends up on a blind date with each other. It would be sufficient to say that I am no longer in the matchmaking business…but I’ll tell you the story anyway. Both wanted dates for a big dance, so I thought it would be a great idea to just set them up together and kill two birds with one stone. Well, they turned out to mix like peanut butter and ketchup and I turned out to be the one to blame.
Bringing Down the House, starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifa, centers on an even more (or is it less?) disastrous blind date. In the movie, Peter Sanderson (Martin, Novocain) is a recently divorced man who is still in love with his ex-wife (Jean Smart, Snow Day). Trying to move on, Sanderson arranges a blind date with a woman whom he met in a legal chatroom. He is expecting a tall, leggy blonde. When he answers the door, however, what he finds is tough, loud, bootylicious Charlene (Latifa, Chicago) instead. At first, Sanderson is afraid for his life, then for his career, and finally for his children. On top of this, Sanderson is trying to land a major, very conservative client (Joan Plowright, Bailey’s Mistake) and Charlene refuses to leave him alone until he clears her name of a crime she didn’t commit. As time progresses, however, Charlene proves herself to be more than just your average ex-con. She turns out to be a quick-witted, resourceful woman who befriends Sanderson’s children and co-workers. He starts to find that he actually likes having her around and she starts to help him get his life back on track.
While Bringing Down the House certainly was funny and clever, it wasn’t as funny as it was cracked up to be. I, however, liked it anyway. The acting and chemistry redeemed this film. Martin is, as everyone knows, a comedic phenomenon and Queen Latifa was awesome. They surprisingly had good comedic chemistry. On top of this, Eugene Levy (Like Mike) was hilarious as Sanderson’s co-worker who falls for Charlene at first sight. Half of the jokes I laughed at involved him.
This film also has great comedic range; from slapstick, to satire, to a stoned 80 year old. I saw this with my mother and we both laughed just as much but at different things. This makes it a good movie for anyone to see because it accesses different senses of humor. Surprisingly enough, it is also relatable. Parents and spouses can relate to Sanderson and his ex-wife, teenagers can relate to their kids, innocent ex-cons (or simply the misjudged) can relate to Charlene, and the truly bizarre can relate to Levy’s character. Although it isn’t exactly what it’s cracked up to be, Bringing Down the House is still an enjoyable, funny movie that is well worth five dollars and a Saturday afternoon.
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