OH dear. I should have listened to my readers who overwhelmingly indicated that they were NOT going to go see Jumping the Broom. You were right! The movie was horrific and it shows that all of the reviewers heaping praise on the movie were GRADING ON A CURVE. I call it The Tyler Perry Movie Review Curve of Delusion. Whereby, we compare every Black movie to Tyler Perry productions.
As a result of Tyler Perry decimating our expectations related to Black films, any old clunker that doesn't have a cross dressing, profanity spewing, violent septuagenarian grandmother is treated as if its an OSCAR contender. We give Black films extra credit now for not having a Madea-like character in them and that is a terrible shame, because I grew up watching television and movies featuring Black folks that had quality material and quality acting.
Jumping the Broom had some high points, but not nearly as many as many reviewers led us to believe. I don't even know where to start.
How Did the Movie Depict Black Women?
...as irrationally angry, mean spirited, duplicitous smothering shrews no matter what side of the tracks they live on. Loretta Devine and Angela Bassett's characters were completely and totally UNLIKEABLE! They had no humanity whatsoever. It was 120 minutes of anti-Black woman propaganda which shouldn't be surprising since Tracey Edmonds said that the purpose of the film was to show that Black men knew how to love Black women...which apparently is miraculous because clearly we're so unlikeable.
How was the acting?
Well let me put it this way. Laz Alonso has the charisma of a pile of iceberg lettuce left outside on hot pavement on a 99 degree summer day... smothered with ranch dressing. He was wretched. He has dead eyes and when he was hitting all of his romantic marks, I just wasn't convinced at all. He dialed it in.
Angela Bassett played the same character she always plays of late except she was mean and coldblooded and did I mention unlikeable. But her makeup and wardrobe were flawless.
Paula Patton was the breakout star of the film, she can act, even when given CRAPPY material. There is a scene in the kitchen when she looks around at a crowd standing in the kitchen and she doesn't utter a word, but says everything she's feeling with her eyes. Wonderful moment for the 5 seconds it lasted. Maybe the other actresses have more range, but their roles weren't written to show that range off.
Mike Epps, he showed shades and hints of Terrance Howard at his best when Terrance isn't huffing entire boxes of baby wipes. I said HINTS. Glimpses.
Loretta Devine. I love Loretta Devine. Ever since she played Gloria in Waiting to Exhale and Stevie on A Different World. Love her. But the character she played was just dreadful. The character had reason to be upset, but we weren't allowed to see that because she went straight to 10 when only a 2 or 3 was required.
Megan Good... she needs more people.
Lil Romeo needs more people and two acting coaches. Though he could have a future as a sidekick.
Tasha Smith.. can be enjoyable when she's not in a Tyler Perry movie screaming like an angry banshee. She actually has the ability to turn in a restrained yet highly entertaining performance when someone lets her.
Pooch Hall. Decent.
Did I mention that Laz Alonso is a dreadful actor and has dead eyes and kisses like a fish and runs like a llama?
TD Jakes, his costumes in the film were too tight.
Valerie Pettiford... LOVED HER! Especially when she toned it down.
Now about the technical aspects of the films.
Since we're using Tyler Perry as the standard by which we measure every Black movie, Tyler has these folks beat. And Y'all know it PAINS me to say it, but Tyler's movies are much better from a technical standpoint than Jumping the Broom. Sure he's addicted to ridiculously long dolly shots for some reason, but his cinematographers and film editors are just better than the ones for Jumping the Broom. His movies now LOOK better. In Jumping the Broom, you'd have a master shot in full sun and blown out and then when you'd do the close ups and reverse angles, they'd be in full shadow. There was no consistency in the lighting at all. The dolly shots were odd and there was a scene with Angela Bassett sitting at a piano towards the end where it looked like they pulled out an iPhone camera to shoot her closeups.
Even the scenery which promised to be awesome, fell flat because the cinematographer had many of the scenes outdoors overexposed and blown out.
Dreadful. The people who wrote this movie think that movie goers are DUMB. Therefore, the idea of nuance or restraint is totally lost on them. They leave nothing to the imagination. They shoe horned a couple of bible verses into the script to appeal to church goers and as much as some folks tried to indicate that this film was some type of infomercial for abstinence, you've been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray. They gave it a cursory mention here or there. The movie was about overbearing mothers. period.
So do I have anything positive about the movie?Yes, the hair and makeup were nice. I got to see some Black performers who I don't get to see on the big screen that often. But that's not enough to justify paying $10. Put it in your cue on Netflix or wait for it to hit Red Box.
The bad news is that the people who reviewed the movie graded it on a curve. The good news is that I thought the movie was so bad that I shouldn't have any hesitation about making a crappy movie. . . everybody's doing it apparently