Jumping the Broom (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 31, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Enjoyable from beginning to end. “Jumping the Broom” is an absolutely gorgeous film that has a good balance of comedy and drama. While it does have some side storylines that seemed as it was forceably thrown into the screenplay, the main storyline between the couple and their relationship to their mothers was well written. Overall, a fun and beautiful film worth watching.
Images courtesy of © 2011 Stage 6 Films, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Jumping the Broom
FILM RELEASE DATE: 2011
DURATION: 112 minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:78:1), English, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH and French
RATED: PG-13 (For Some Sexual Content)
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2011
Directed by Salim Akil
Screenplay by Elizabeth Hunter and Arlene Gibbs
Story by Elizabeth Hunter
Produced by Tracey E. Edmonds, Elizabeth Hunter, T.D. Jakes, Michael Mahoney, Glendon Palmer, Curtis Wallace
Music by Ed Shearmur
Cinematography by Anastas N. Michos
Edited by Terilyn A. Shropshire
Casting by Twinkie Byrd
Production Design by Doug McCullough
Set Decoration by Brian Enman
Costume Design by Martha Curry
Angela Bassett as Mrs. Watson
Paula Patton as Sabrina Watson
Laz Alonso as Jason Taylor
Loretta Devine as Mrs. Taylor
Meagan Good as Blythe
Tasha Smith as Shonda
Julie Bowen as Amy
DeRay Davis as Malcolm
Valarie Pettiford as Aunt Geneva
Mike Epps as Willie Earl
Pooch Hall as Ricky
Romeo as Sebastian
Brian Stokes Mitchell as Mr. Watson
Gary Dourdan as Chef
T.D. Jakes as Reverend James
El DeBarge as Singer
Tenika Davis as Lauren
Producers T. D. Jakes and Tracey E. Edmonds invite you to the marriage of Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton, Precious ) and Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso, Fast & Furious), who just might be the perfect couple. Unfortunately, their families are a perfect recipe for disaster. Mrs. Watson (Angela Bassett) has an upper-crust sensibility that matches her family’s Martha’s Vineyard estate, where Jason’s straight-out-of-Brooklyn mom (Loretta Devine) seems utterly out of place. When the families gather for Jason and Sabrina’s wedding, it becomes clear that each side has its traditions… and its secrets. When uptown meets downtown, the truth comes out – and only one question remains. Will this couple endure the hysterical and harrowing trials of love and finally jump the broom?
From filmmaker Salim Akil (known for directing TV episodes for “The Game” and “Girlfriends”) comes the film “Jumping the Broom” written by Elizabeth Hunter (writer for episodes of “ER” and “The Fighting Temptations”) and Arlene Gibbs (producer of “Traitor”).
The film is based on a cultural tradition used in other countries but also was used for American-Americans during a time when slaves were not allowed to have official marriages and so, to practice the union of a couple, in their own unofficial wedding ceremonies, the couple would jump a broom and the broom would be passed down from generation to generation.
The film was released in theaters on Mother’s Day 2011 and the film which was budgeted at $7 million, earned over $37 million in the box office and now the Blu-ray and DVD release will be available courtesy of Sony Pictures and Home Entertainment on Aug. 2, 2011.
The story of “Jumping the Broom” focuses on Sabrina Watson (played by Paula Patton, “Precious”, “Deja Vu”, “Hitch”), a young woman who gets into one night stands with men who she hopes to be with forever but find out they are taken.
So, she makes a prayer to God that if she stops having sex, can God please bring her a real man that she can love and will love her.
One day while putting on her makeup in traffic, preoccupied with what she is doing, she accidentally hits a pedestrian named Jason Taylor (played by Laz Alonso, “Miracle at St. Anna”, “Fast & Furious”, “Avatar”) and sure enough, the two fall in love.
Six months later, Sabrina is being transferred to China but she doesn’t want to end her relationship with Jason and expecting him to break up with her, he doesn’t…he loves her and the two decide to get married. And will marry at her family’s place at Martha’s Vineyard.
The two have not met each other’s parents and we get to learn that with Sabrina, she is from a wealthy family with her mother (played by Angela Bassett, “Malcolm X”, “Boyz N the Hood”, “Green Lantern”) and businessman father (played by Brian Stokes Mitchell) are a bit surprised that she is getting married without getting to know his family.
Meanwhile, for Jason, his mother (played by Loretta Devine, “Boston Public”, “Crash”, “I Am Sam”) is a hardworking person at the postal service who works to get by but lives her life for her son. And pretty much Jason is a bonafide “mama’s boy”. And she is even more upset that Sabrina is taking her son away from him.
Sure enough, Jason takes his mom, his Uncle Willie (played by Mike Epps), his mom’s friend Shonda (played by Tasha Smith) and his cousin Malcolm (played by DeRay Davis) and a few others to Martha’s Vineyard to prepare for the wedding.
Immediately, both Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Watson do not like each other as they come from different status.
To make things worse, Mrs. Taylor expects her son and his bride-to-be to carry on the “Jumping of the Broom” tradition but Sabrina tells her future mother-in-law that she and Jason plan to do their own ceremony.
As tension start to increase between both sides of the family, will Sabrina and Jason get married or will their families destroy their wedding?
“Jumping the Moon” looks absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray. Presented in 1080p High-Definition (1:78:1), Anastas Michos does a wonderful job of capturing the beauty around Martha’s vineyard with its blue skies and earth tones. Also, good planning for costume design to focus on white clothing, tans and dark blues as the colors do look beautiful against the serene and gorgeous environment.
Outdoor scenes are vibrant, but also during indoor scenes, skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep and for the most part, I detected no problems with picture quality. This is a gorgeous film and it really increased my appreciation for the film because of its presentation and beauty.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Jumping the Broom” is presented in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English-Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital. The lossless audio features crystal clear dialog as well as music. While, surround channels are mainly used for ambiance and music, its front and center-channel driven is appropriate for this type of film.
Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.
“Jumping the Broom” comes with the following special features:
- Director and Cast Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Director Salim Akil, actress Paula Patton and actor Laz Alonso. Akil gives good in-depth information of various scenes and what he wanted to accomplish and more.
- You’re Invited: Behind-the-Scenes – (23:41) Behind-the-scenes of “Jumping the Broom”. Cast talk about various scenes and their characters.
- Honoring the Tradition of Jumping the Broom – (8:47) The cast and crew talk about the tradition of “Jumping the Broom” and also asking the talent if they have ever witnessed one at a wedding before.
“Jumping the Broom” is a beautiful film with a good touch of drama and comedy but at the same time, there were other storylines that were incorporated to the overall film that were unnecessary.
First the good, I absolutely loved the cinematography by Anastas N. Michos (“Mona Lisa Smile”, “Man on the Moon”, “Untraceable”). From the costume design to how warm the colors were when the family were outdoors at Martha’s Vineyard was well-done and in my opinion, helped enhance my enjoyment of the film.
As for the performances, as a fan of Angela Bassett including Loretta Devine, it was great to see these two women playing the very different mothers. Bassett has played the stern but loving mother before and Loretta Devine has had this sassy character that she has played not just on film on television and it works on film. Paula Patton was absolutely delightful onscreen. She was able to deliver the naive but sensual character of Sabrina and also helped elevate Laz Alonso’s role as Jason Taylor.
Another aspect that I absolutely enjoyed about the film was the “Jumping on the Broom”, while not limited to African American culture, it was good to hear of how this tradition held by African-American families for generations has been integrated to the film.
As for the actual story, I did enjoy “Jumping the Broom” but it does have its fair share of problems.
The screenplay tries to integrate a few side storylines of varying characters for no apparent reason. Storylines that felt as if they were thrown into the story because of the talent that were featured or to increase the duration of the film.
For example, we have DeRay Davis’ character of Malcolm who plays the best man and cousin of the groom. And somehow, they end up getting into a squabble at the wedding and sure, audiences will know the two have friction but the overall execution was not handled well.
There is no closure between the problems that Jason and Malcolm as things end up with one of them being slugged and somehow, that storyline is forgotten. A few seconds of closure featuring an apology could have given closure.
Also, the storyline tries to incorporate a forced relationship scene between Sabrina’s friend Blythe (played by Megan Good) and the Chef (played by CSI’s Gary Dourdan). The relationship has no purpose in the film and it felt as if the writer was trying to showcase several relationships happening outside of the main couple and their parents. All it did was take away from the film and served no purpose.
And then there is Julie Bowen’s (“Modern Family”, “Ed”, “Happy Gilmore”) character of Amy, who is pretty much the assistant for Sabrina’s mother and who appears as flustered as the family due to the multi-tasking before the wedding day. I guess in some way, it’s an interesting juxtaposition of films with a white family have African-American servants, and to have the opposite with a an African-American family with a Caucasian servant. Bowen does provide some laughs during the film but also some scenes seemed unnecessary as well.
So, the film does have its positives and some negatives. And while a predictable film, it does have the banality of many wedding films that do have a happy ending. And for a wedding film, I found “Jumping the Broom” to be an enjoyable film that shows that there is no perfection when it comes to families, rich or poor and that typically, when it comes to weddings, there has to be some compromise.
As for the Blu-ray release, the film is definitely gorgeous on Blu-ray and while the film is pretty much dialogue-driven (and some parts with music), I did enjoy listening to the commentary and also the special feature about the tradition of “Jumping the Broom”.
Overall, if you are looking for a fun, wedding film with a good balance of comedy and drama, definitely give “Jumping the Broom” a try!
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