“This family thinks they are better than us!”
If you think the wedding “rom com” has been done to death, Jumping the Broom won’t change your mind. It covers much the same ground you’ve seen again and again, but one cannot deny director T.D. Jakes has crafted a charming if clichéd film.
Two culturally diverse families, East Coast blue collar versus West Coast classy, clash at a lush wedding in luxurious Martha’s Vineyard. One family is rich, the other, not so much. Crazy family feuds and romantic hijinks ensue. This is your standard, bullet pointed wedding comedy.
- Sabrina (Paula Patton), the beautiful bride who comes from money who is embarrassed by her family’s riches.
- Jason (Laz Alonso), the down to earth groom with his loud, Brooklyn-based family who is embarrassed by his family’s earthiness.
- Jason’s mother Mrs. Taylor (Loretta Devine), a fish out of water in California who resents Sabrina’s family’s wealth.
- Sabrina’s mom, Mrs. Watson (Angela Bassett) the supremely judgmental matriarch who is preoccupied dealing with her own problems via her husband’s (Brian Stokes Mitchell) infidelity issues.
- The wrong side of the tracks romance with Sabrina’s cousin Blythe (Meagan Good) and wedding chef (Gary Dourdan).
- Bitter relative, Malcolm (DeRay Davis) who wants to sabotage the wedding.
- Crazy relative comedy relief, Willie Earl (a very funny Mike Epps).
- Calculating Aunt Geneva (Valarie Pettiford) hiding a dark, family secret that gets revealed near the end.
Yep, it’s all there. Jumping the Broom is an easy watch for a wedding genre, chick flick. The acting is natural, and the script moves briskly with quick and funny dialog. T.D. Jakes does a decent job juggling the ensemble cast, but the narrative gets a little thin in the final third.
Very clean digital video transfer from Sony; it really looks like film. The MPEG-4 AVC encoded image (1.78:1 converted from it 1.85.1 original aspect ratio) presentation is bright and crisp viewing experience running 30-35 Mbps. Sharply defined close-ups, sharp background action, and rich colors spotlight the elegant costuming and lush set design. The skin tones are natural and the blacks balanced and detailed even in shadows and night shoots.
The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix nicely defines the overlapping dialog and heated exchanges. Although the surround wasn’t deeply immersive, the dialog is clear and mostly in the frontal range, with a couple scenes pushed into surround to highlight the group dynamic. Occasional ambience cues push out in the exterior scenes like water and wedding merriment. The music is full and doesn’t overpower the dialog; the bass is soft, but still present in the subwoofers.
The feature-length audio commentary with director Salim Akil and actors Paula Patton and Laz Alonso if you thought the movie was generic, wait until you listen to the commentary. It is the standard scene-specific details and challenging anecdote dribble. You can definitely tell they took notes, as it sounds stiffer than a Jay Leno interview, full of self-conscious platitudes and nervous chatter to fill dead spots.
You’re Invited” (23:41) your standard made for cable electronic press kit. Behind the scenes, interviews with the cast, this movie will be the best because blah, blah, blah.
Honoring the Tradition of Jumping the Broom (6:27) delves into the slavery-based history behind the titular event. Interviews explore the profound cultural and emotional implications of this of this obscure tradition.
A Theatrical Trailer has not been included.
OK, this would be easy to trash and bag as most of the other critics chose to do, but when the narrative stays on the main players, Jumping the Broom offers a sensitive, charming and, yes, occasionally funny story. The cast is strong and work their roles to the max effect. Yes, this is a message movie. And, yes, the message is family matters and all obstacles to can be overcome with love, patience and communication. Not necessarily a new message, but one that bears repeating.
“They got white people worries.”