Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jumping the Broom: A Review

If you know me in real life or have been reading for a while you know that I am (word to Tamar Braxton) with weddings. When I first heard about the film Jumping the Broom (sometime last year I believe) I was super excited to see the movie. Bourgeois French speaking black folks in Marthas Vineyard having a wedding! Right up my alley. Not to mention that the film is produced by T.D. Jakes and Tracey Edmonds.  ( I love them both) For those you that don’t know, jumping the broom is an African American tradition that has been around since the times of slavery. Slaves weren’t allowed to marry so to signify their marriage they would jump a broom, the broom signifies sweeping away your old life and jumping over into a new one with your husband or wife. A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the film so here goes my review. (No spoilers)

The film starts with Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) promising to God that she would wait until she was married to sleep with a man after a horribly failed one night stand. Later she meets Jason Taylor (Laz Alonzo) when she hits him with her car. They date in what I’m assuming to be a whirlwind romance filled with dates to the Opera and fancy dinners for about six months then get engaged before her job transfers her to China. They decided to have the wedding at the brides’ parent’s home in Martha’s Vineyard and over the wedding weekend is where all the drama happens.

We find that each family has preconceived notions about the other family and their own sets of issues. The Watson family is fluent French speaking high society prim and proper their ancestors weren’t slaves they owned slaves family. They are hiding a dark secret that threatens to tear the families and entire wedding apart. Claudine (Angela Bassett) and Gregory (Brian Stokes Mitchell) are Sabrina’s parents. Blythe (Meagan Good) is the looking for Mr. Right (with everything on her long list) maid of honor and Sebastian (Romeo Miller) is the bride’s twenty-year-old cougar loving cousin who is an undergrad at Yale. Rounding out their family is Claudine’s sister,  the inappropriate auntie, every family has one, (Valarie Pettiford) who crashes the wedding.

The Taylor family is a working class family from Brooklyn. They aren’t into frills just living life one day at a time. They remind me of some of my family that I probably wouldn’t want to claim at times. (Sad but true). We meet Pam Taylor (Loretta Devine) Jason’s mom who is an excellent sweet potato pie making widowed postal worker and her best friend and co-worker Shonda (Tasha Smith). Malcolm (DeRay Davis) Jason’s old neighborhood friend and Willie Earl (Mike Epps) his been married 4 or 5 times uncle.

With these families coming from two sides of the tracks you know there is bound to be some tension and drama that has nothing to do with the stress of the wedding day. Mrs. Taylor first issue is with the fact that she’s never met Sabrina. She has made up her mind that she is rude and looks down upon her family for their socioeconomic status. While Sabrina does her best to make Mrs. Taylor feel as welcome as possible, Claudine spends much of the movie being stressed about getting the details perfect for the wedding and making sure everything is up to her exacting standards. Her husband is away on business and makes it home in time for the wedding festivities but you can tell that their marriage is very strained.

One of the issues in the Taylor family is that Mrs. Taylor doesn’t want to let Jason go to any woman let alone one that didn’t properly introduce herself.  In an argument they have towards the end of the film he tells her “You treat me like a little boy or your husband but I am neither. I am your son” which is long standing issue in many of our communities where the father was never present or passed away and now sons are treated as their mothers boyfriends. You can read what Demetria Lucas had to say about that on her blog A Belle In Brooklyn here.

The film isn’t all the way serious, there is a lot of comedic relief with the inappropriate white wedding coordinator played by Julie Bowen and the mature speaks what’s on her mind housekeeper for the Watson family. And you know Mike Epps, Tasha Smith, and DeRay Davis are there to add a few laughs to the film.

There is a lot of black beauty in this film with Pooch Hall, Laz Alonozo, Gary Dourdan and Romeo for the ladies. Meagan Good looks super hot as usual and Paula Patton (who IMHO looks like the product of Halle Berry and Alicia Keys having a baby together) and Angela Bassett look great as usual.  (New post on Haute Chocolate Beauty for looks in the film coming soon)

This is a story of love and family. When you marry a man you also get his family with it as a package deal. If we’re honest with ourselves, if we were in a similar situation as the Taylor and Watson families our wedding would probably go very similary. Go see the film in theaters May 6 for the laughs the love and of course the wedding!

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