Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: 'Breakin' Down Bringing Down The House'
making of featurette; Queen Latifah music video; Director and
writer audio commentary; Deleted scenes; Gag reel; 'Godfather
of Hop' featurette.
THE best thing about this film is the soundtrack, as I found
myself cringing more than laughing at this anxious to be hip,
Peter, (Steve Martin) is a father-of-two who is still in love
with his estranged wife.
However, he decides it is time to move on and, after exchanging
more and more raunchy emails with an attractive blonde lawyer
he has never met, he invites her over for dinner.
He thinks she is an attractive blonde because she emailed him
a photo of herself taken outside a court room. What he doesn't
know is the woman emailing him is the woman in the photo behind
the blonde lawyer, being arrested.
Enter Charlene (Queen Latifah), the ex-con with attitude, determined
to get Peter to represent her in court for a crime she didn't
She moves into his house, to the delight of his two children,
and starts dating his work colleague, Howie, (Eugene Levy).
You don't need a crystal ball to guess that things start off
disastrously, as Charlene turns everybody's world upside down,
but everything works out for the best.
The biggest problem with this comedy are the outdated jokes.
In an attempt to mock racist attitudes, the film plays every
stereotype card in the pack.
Levy plays an uptight white guy who falls for Charlene, and then
starts talking jive, cringe.
And Joan Plowright plays old racist, Mrs Arness, who joins Peter's
family for dinner while Charlene pretends to be the maid, cringe.
Peter blags his way into a hip-hop club by talking jive to the
bouncers and gets caught up on the dancefloor while Mrs Arness
ends up at the bar getting stoned, cringe.
There is even the racist neighbour, Mrs. Kleine (Betty White).
who uses the word 'negro'.
Loyal Steve Martin fans will no doubt turn a blind eye to the
unoriginality of the plot and watch Martin play a role he's played
many, many times before.
The uptight white guy who needs, in this film, a black babe to
show him how to live, love and dance.
Queen Latifah brings some much needed credibility to this movie,
on which she also serves as executive producer.
But I can't help wondering if this is a stepping stone to another
project, rather than a film she really wanted to make.
Both Queen Latifah and Steve Martin work brilliantly together
to keep this film afloat and it would be great to see them together
again in a decent film. In the meantime, if you like hip-hop,
skip this and listen to a Queen Latifah album instead.