May 6, 2011 was a wonderful day. That was the day Jumping the Broom was released, which meant I no longer had to see its eye-rolling trailer before every movie. The romantic dramedy is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD, and, surprisingly, it's watchable. But not much more than that.
Jumping the Broom is about a young couple (played by Paula Patton and Laz Alonso) who, after a short dating stint, decide to get married. Unfortunately, their two families couldn't be more different. Hers is rich and cultured; his is poor and urban. Regardless of background, his mom (Loretta Devine) is especially troublesome and her antics could tear the couple apart.
Slightly funny but more dramatic than anything else, Jumping the Broom is effective if not forgettable. There's plenty of conflict, but it's clear that everything is going to work out in the end. There's no real tension, no emotional power, and yet Jumping the Broom works on account of its fast-paced story and ensemble cast.
In other words, it's entertaining, even if it's trite and unremarkable.
Though I'm clearly not in the target demographic (I'm white, and a guy), Jumping the Broom has its moments. But the movie struggles to find the right balance between comedy, drama and romance. It has its funny parts, but it really isn't that funny. It has its drama, but it isn't that dramatic, either. It's romantic, but in a very predictable kind of way.
Since it's ultimately lighthearted, Jumping the Broom would have benefited from a greater emphasis on humor. Just a few small, defining moments would have breathed life into the picture, adding some spark to the otherwise straight-laced script. It comes close with a few members of the supporting cast - who are much more interesting to watch than the lead couple - but never commits.
And that's Jumping the Broom's problem. It's a marriage comedy-drama with commitment issues. It can't decide what it wants to be, so it accepts being just satisfactory. And satisfactory, while easy to watch, is quickly forgotten.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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