Jumping the Broom isn’t so bad, as long a the handle is low…
This past Friday the 13th, I decided to stick with tradition, and go see a horror movie. But my overpriced ticket to Jumping the Broom was not quite as horrible as I expected. Before I delve into the details, let me say that the key to enjoying any movie experience is to go in with low expectations. This moment of finite pessimism works for the cinema, but not for life which has infinite expectation, so it is not an argument in favor of low expectations in general, but only for given moments, like almost any movie involving Hollywood born films featuring “African American culture.”
The movie began with an adorably gorgeous character played by Paula Patton facing a shameful morning after scene where the guy she just slept with has a phone conversation with another girlfriend (or wife) in front of her. She makes a promise to God that she wont engage in any such physical intimacy unless it was with the guy she marries. And low and behold, moments later, she runs her car into said wonderful, hot, considerate, good job having man. But the every day realism doesn’t end there. She is exceedingly wealthy, a woman of pedigree with a good job, and he is a pulled up by his bootstraps, fine specimen of a man but from “the hood.” So of course when it comes time for the wedding, the family mix is like oil and water. Or maybe like wine and kool-aid. Either way, they don’t mix. The resulting drama is like driving in a straightforward 4 lane highway of entertainment. It didn’t offer unexpected twists or turns of amusement, and was not really laugh out loud funny, but it did the job of maintaining interest. As with everything else in life, there were some good points and bad points:
I actually thought this movie had a good message, and ultimately, that was that people in relationships should stick together, and that people in your family, no matter what their particular neuroses, should be loved unconditionally. I loved that the mother of the bride (played by Angela Basset) and the father of the bride stuck together despite the obvious issues they needed to work through. Also when the bride and groom faced challenges and stressors, they too decided that their status as a couple, as a unit, would guide them through difficulty.
It showed a diversity of “African American culture” albeit a very clichéd one. There really are certain levels of dissociation that exists amongst Black folk, and I thought the movie did a good job of bringing to light the essence of some of those issues. Although both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom were both overbearing bitches, their obnoxiousness showed a distinct polarity of Black woman abrasiveness, and thus offered a nice layering of negative portrayal. (lol)
On the flip side, the movie did reinforce an unrealistic portrayal of a “prince charming” who is completely wonderful and sweeps the woman off her feet. The couple was happily going to the opera, to picnics in central park, he proposed to her suddenly with violins in the evening, El Debarge himself crooning, pleading to her over piano keys, everything was very fairytale-ish, as it should be. Problem is women who watch this are left disappointed with their own reality. But the real problem is that men don’t watch enough of these movies, or aren’t inspired to live up to these beautiful movie moments.
The story made an attempt at some secret familial drama to thicken the plot, but all of the “issues” in the movie were very easily resolved. You were never left wondering what would happen.
There were a lot of dangling modifiers and incomplete thoughts. For example, the wedding planner was a very potentially funny character, but her perspective and purpose in the story was completely underdeveloped. They could have either done without her, or incorporated her into some sort of hilarious plot progression or at least a source of consistent rhetoric. Additionally, the ‘bourgie’ bridesmaid (played by Meagan Good) had some sort of affair with the chef (Gary Dourdan) which was supposed to be a scandal, but was left hanging like an untied shoelace. The whole thing just made you kind of shrug your shoulders.
Then the most dramatically compelling part leaves a disappointing sense of blue-balls. As the strongest protagonist (the mother of the groom played by Loretta Divine) spins a constant web of hatred, she is finally clearly outted, her true colors fuming, and in that moment, we are expecting her son to explode on her, to put her rightfully in her place! He returns in a storm, and then lets out a light drizzle at best, showing her he was, upset, but devoid of real anger. That was annoying.
The most hilarious part (although not meant to be) was when the chef (Gary Dourdan) was seducing the bridesmaid (a very easy job I might add) with an oyster and champagne. That did it. The next scene together, they were ‘at it’ in the kitchen, and then the next scene, she was all vulnerable asking him “What do you think of me?” You know what his response was? I hate to spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it, but I have to share this gem… with a straight actors face, he goes : “You know, you’re like a pomegranate… you have this hard protective shell, but… your beautiful on the inside.”
Did he just call Meagan Good a pomegranate? A pomegranate?? Doesn’t get any better than that folks.