Ever since Tyler Perry started cranking out one unfunny urban comedy after another, the very thought of a watching what many white folks commonly refer to as “a black film” has become less and less appealing for many — especially by those white folks, who are usually expecting to see any combination of Richard Roundtree, Pam Grier and funky waka-chi-waka music. Now, should said “black film” turn out to be a PG-13 drama that’s safe for all ages to boot, well then you can just forget about that right then and there, because there’s obviously some sort of African-American conspiracy afoot!
Alas, there’s no conspiracy to be found in Jumping The Broom — a title that should not, for any reason, ever be confused with the movie/TV idiom, “Jumping the Shark.” Nor is there any reason for anyone that occasionally makes the time in his or her busy schedule to enjoy a wholesome family drama to not see it, because it’s actually a very enjoyable picture.
Yes, you read that right: I just said I liked it.
The story is a pretty average one (but then, what family drama doesn’t have an average story these days?), wherein upper-class lass Sabrina (Paula Patton), fed up with giving her goods away to the wrong guys, decides to take a break from meaningless relationships founded on sex and nothing else.
She even prays to that God feller that He bring her a decent man, to wit she promptly hits Jason (Laz Alonso) who — you guessed it — is from a lower-class upbringing. He’s also content with no sexual intercourse, and even proposes to her. Well, of course, this is a fiction, kids (even though Sabrina does have a damn-fine body — or maybe he’s just trying to marry her money), so just suspend your disbelief, OK?
Things are all fine and dandy for the couple until Jason’s family and friends come to Sabrina’s folks’ plush estate in Martha’s Vineyard, wherein Jason’s hardened, overprotective Brooklyn mum (Loretta Devine) clashes with Sabrina’s somewhat posh parents (Angela Bassett and Brian Stokes Mitchell) and their relatives and acquaintances. While most of the social clattering is irrelevant to the young couple, things start to heat up as various secrets — from both families — begin to surface, threatening to end the soon-to-be-newlyweds’ relationship before it technically even gets a chance to set sail.
Not only does the film boast a better-than-average story (screenwriters Elizabeth Hunter and Arlene Gibbs should charge Tyler Perry half of his fortune and teach him how to write a story), but it also presents a fine gathering of performers — an assortment that ultimately makes Jumping The Broom worth checking out, including Tasha Smith, Valarie Pettiford, Gary Dourdan and Julie Bowen (as the token white chick).
In what is quite possibly the best movie to ever bear the Stage 6 Films logo, Jumping The Broom makes its home video debut from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in a stellar High-Definition presentation. The 1080p transfer is positively breathtaking, boasting a color scheme so spectacular and detail so fine, you can almost smell the ocean air (the movie was shot digitally). Likewise, the feature’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack delivers above and beyond what you’d expect — especially for a drama like this. A French DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is also included, as are optional subtitles in English (SDH) and French.
Jumping The Broom’s special features include an audio commentary with director Salim Akil and lead performers Paula Patton and Laz Alonso; two featurettes (“You’re Invited: Behind-The-Scenes” and “Honoring The Tradition Of Jumping The Broom,” the latter of which will help explain what the hell the title of this movie means to those of you who don’t know — and might just inform some of you who think you know!). A few previews are also featured with this release, and the disc is BD-Live and MovieIQ enabled.
In short: although some of the film’s more suggestive remarks might be somewhat inappropriate for younger members (PG-13 might be cutting it a little close, but it definitely doesn’t contain anything worthy enough of an “R” rating), Jumping The Broom still emerges as an entertaining family drama. And besides, any movie that casts ‘80s musician El DeBarge in a bit part as a singer can’t be all that bad — which reminds me: Dade Smith, you borrowed my audio cassette of Rhythm Of The Night while were in the fourth grade and then moved away shortly thereafter with my tape! Don’t think I don’t remember after all these years, you thief.