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Bringing Down The House (Full Screen Edition)


BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE, Steve Martin, 2003, (c) Walt Disney

This is all wrong. It violates the immortal Stewart/Reagan principle: Steve Martin for Latifah, Eugene Levy for best friend. A comedy is not allowed to end with the couples incorrectly paired. It goes against the deeply traditional requirements of the audience. Here is a movie that ignores the Model Airplane Rule: First, make sure you have taken all of the pieces out of the box, then line them up in the order in which they will be needed. "Bringing Down the House" is glued together with one of the wings treated like a piece of tail.

The hilarious Steve Martin and Queen Latifah star with Eugene Levy in the laugh-out-loud hit comedy BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE. Peter Sanderson (Martin), a divorced, straitlaced, uptight workaholic attorney, meets a brainy bombshell lawyer in an on-line chat room and they make a date. Expecting his soul mate, he opens the door and finds himself face-to-face with Charlene (Latifah) -- a wild and crazy soul "sister" who's just escaped from prison and wants Peter to clear her name. But Peter wants absolutely nothing to do with her, and that prompts Charlene to turn Peter's perfectly ordered life totally upside down. Peter soon finds out he may need Charlene just as much as she needs him. It's a houseful of fun your family will enjoy again.

(Bringing Down the House: Sam Emerson)

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    Peter Sanderson (Martin) is a divorced, straight-laced, uptight attorney who still loves his ex-wife (Smart) and can't figure out what he did wrong to make her leave him. However, Peter's trying to move on, and he's smitten with a brainy, bombshell barrister he's been chatting with online. However, when she comes to his house for their first face-to-face, she isn't refined, isn't Ivy League, and isn't even a lawyer. Instead, it's Charlene (Latifah), a prison escapee who's proclaiming her innocence and wants Peter to help clear her name. But Peter wants nothing to do with her, prompting the loud and shocking Charlene to turn Peter's perfectly ordered life upside down, jeopardizing his effort to get back with his wife and woo a billion dollar client (Plowright). In the end, our unlikely pair has the chance to put each other's lives on higher ground... if they don't end up bringing down the house.

    Not to get too PC on his ass, but what kind of Spike Lee-riling bamboozle is Steve Martin up to in Bringing Down the House? Martin’s comedy persona is often that of an uptight white guy, constricted by his own WASPiness, who is saved from a dull future of gracious table manners by a wild-and-crazy gene he can’t hide beneath his silver-haired veneer. A little racial disruption is good for a Martin man – his feet get happy and he becomes more colorful in his own pale skin. In this coarse, poorly tuned comedy, however, the arrival of Queen Latifah, as a shrewd, jiggier-than-thou sistah, gets Martin’s character, Peter Sanderson, much too happy – he’s so deliriously delighted by the powers of black folks as emancipators of repressed ids that Martin has never looked so uncomfortably white in his career.