Friday, November 12 must have been Jamie Foxx day, for I saw not one but two Foxx films that day. Following the discovery of his acting talent in Ray, of which he will earn an Oscar nomination, I popped another 2004 movie titled Breakin' All the Rules into my DVD player. Unfortunately, compared to Ray and Collateral, it is easily his worst of the year.
Breakin' All the Rules does have a few things going for it. It is a simple, brainless romantic comedy that stars a good cast. Alongside Foxx we get Morris Chestnut, Peter MacNicol and the beautiful Gabrielle Union. And the beautiful Jennifer Esposito. There is nothing spectacular about the movie - it isn't especially funny nor is it particularly interesting - but it does feature a complex web of love (more than a triangle) that is entertaining in its own right.
The movie stars Foxx as Quincy, a magazine editor who has just suffered through a shocking break-up with his girlfriend Helen (played by the beautiful Bianca Lawson - no, you won't find any ugly women in this movie). In retaliation, he writes a psychological study on the perfect way to break up with women - and the book becomes a huge hit, excelling him to stardom. Then one day, his good friend Evan (Chestnut) freaks out and thinks his girlfriend is going to break up with him. Wanting to have the upper hand and avoid the embarrassment, he sends the breakup expert to break up with his girlfriend for him. Unfortunately, when Quincy goes to meet Evan's girlfriend, he instead meets a beautiful and seemingly perfect woman (Union). As it turns out, she's Nikki, Evan's girlfriend. Adding fuel to the fire, Quincy's boss Philip (MacNicol) is trying to break up with his gold digging girlfriend Rita (Esposito), but is too much of a wimp to do so. He asks Quincy for help, but Rita catches wind of the plot and decides to sabotage the plan by sleeping with Quincy - but she mistakes Evan for Quincy instead. Of course, Quincy's ex-girlfriend Helen shows up as well.
Breakin' All the Rules is one of those movies where you know everyone is going to end up with someone. It's a fun little story that's fairly harmless and features some talented people. Unfortunately, the movie lacks the comedic timing to really make it worth it and, even at only 85 minutes in length, seems long at times.
Interestingly enough, out of all of the characters, the two leads are the least entertaining. Foxx and Union are okay, but the movie never shows enough of their relationship to make us believe all of the trouble they go through to be with one another is worth it. Furthermore, MacNicol and Esposito steal the show. MacNicol ("Ally McBeal") is always hilarious and he does a great job here. Esposito, as his steamy, scheming girlfriend, is equally entertaining as she will go to any length to get what she wants. Chestnut is also pretty entertaining.
Breakin' All the Rules isn't a horrible movie by any stretch of the imagination and writer/director Daniel Taplitz must have had fun coming up with the complicated relationships of the characters, but he forgot to give the characters interesting and funny dialogue to please the audience. About forty minutes in, the movie begins to dull and never recovers.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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