Bringing Down The House (2003)

(In theaters, May 2003) It would be a misuse of frustration to blame movies for society’s ills, and especially inappropriate to single out a comedy as an offencive depiction of current problems. And yet, despite the slight gags and so-called comedic moments, watching Bringing Down The House remains a slightly unpleasant experience. So Steve Martin exemplifies the uptight white guy? Queen Latifah (who co-produced this thing, so it’s not as if she’s an innocent bystander) is all black womanhood? Yikes. We’re merely trading intolerant bigotry for stereotypical herding. In this light, the film’s unsubtle scorn of old-school bigotry is a particularly dishonest tactic. Now, if I let go of my cynicism for a moment, I can admit that all actors are relatively pleasant and that Eugene Levy once again steals the show as a jungle-fevered enthusiast of fine ebony flesh. But Bringing Down The House usually plays more like a low-level irritant than a particularly charming comedy. White men can’t jump, black folks have all the mojo and acting like a moron is a straight path to hipness. Yeeeah. Meanwhile, ebonics is seen as something noble and mobster’s bars are exclusively peopled with a darker shade of tan. This is what passes for progressive entertainment. White movie’s burden indeed.

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