Jumping the Broom
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this wedding comedy was produced by evangelical preacher TD Jakes. It includes some kissing and discussion of premarital sex/celibacy, but at heart it's an uplifting story about the importance of love, family, and tradition. There are a couple of shots of characters (both male and female) in their underwear, but the action is limited to a few sexy smooches. Language is mild for a PG-13 film, and there's no violence outside of a football match that leaves the groom flat on his back. Some of the issues -- classism within the African-American community, mothers who hate every woman their son brings home, teen mothers forced to give away their babies -- are a bit mature for younger audiences, but the movie could prompt discussion about romantic and family relationships.
What's the story?
Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) is a wealthy New York City attorney from a socially prominent family. After vowing to abstain from sex if God will show her the man she's supposed to be with, she literally crashes into attractive investment banker Jason Taylor (Laz Alonzo), who's successful but from a modest, working-class family. The two have a whirlwind five-month courtship and decide to get married with only a month's notice in order to accommodate Sabrina's upcoming job transfer to China. The wedding weekend, held at Sabrina's family's Martha's Vineyard estate, is the first time that Jason's devout-but-overbearing mother (Loretta Devine) meets both Sabrina and her elegant, haughty mother (Angela Bassett). As the clans clash over everything from food and clothes to wedding traditions like JUMPING THE BROOM, family secrets come to light that may threaten the nuptials.
Is it any good?
For his theatrical debut, director Salim Akil has assembled an impressive cast to outperform Tyler Perry at his own formula: combining faith and humor in an inspiring tale about African-American families. Strong performances and a surprisingly witty script make this wedding comedy charming, even when characters are obviously pleading to God or quoting the Bible because the movie was produced by popular evangelical pastor TD Jakes (who makes a cameo as Sabrina's family minister). That said, the story isn't overburdened with preachiness. Sabrina and Jason's abstinence is lightheartedly mocked -- in one refreshingly humorous scene, her aunt even sings "Sexual Healing" at the rehearsal dinner.
Because they're played by Bassett and Devine, it's no surprise that the mothers steal the show. But the attractive leads share a believable chemistry, and the supporting characters are all up to par as well. Meagan Good is beautifully snobby as the WASPily named bridesmaid Blythe; Mike Epps manages to tone down his over-the-top persona as Jason's uncle; old-school CSI fans will delight in the hunky Gary Dourdan popping up as the handsome catering chef; and Julie Bowen gamely plays the wedding planner who's not sure what is or isn't racist to ask and observe. Although some of the family drama borders on melodrama, this is one romantic comedy actually worth seeing.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the movie's message about romantic and family relationships. Does a couple need to share a similar background to have a successful relationship?
How does this movie compare to other wedding comedies? Does it send any positive or negative messages about weddings and/or marriage? Why do so many wedding movies focus on the big day rather than what comes after?