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BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE

A wimpy WASP works up the nerve to go on line in search of love, thereby letting a pushy (but sexy) ex-con into his life.


CAST: Steve Martin, Queen Latifah, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, Jean Smart, Betty White, Missi Pyle, Kimberly J. Brown, Angus T. Jones

DIRECTOR: Adam Shankman

"It is the rare film that is capable of offending both Trent Lott and Al Sharpton, but ‘Bringing Down the House’ gets the job done, and how. An embarrassment for all concerned, this witless, odd-couple comedy slings separate but equal gibes at blacks and whites . . . and still manages to ridicule gays and Hispanics. Why was this picture made? And what to make of Queen Latifah's involvement in this sorry debacle? Since she has acknowledged cleaning up the crude script, she clearly read the thing and agreed to play a hip-hop Aunt Jemima anyway…By going along with the program, Martin shares responsibility for the film's bigotry…To watch this movie, you would think that virtually all whites are rich, snooty and stupid, and that virtually all blacks are poor, thuggish and stupid." --Rita Kempley, The Washington Post

"I confess I expected Steve Martin and Queen Latifah to fall in love in ‘Bringing Down the House.’ That they avoid it violates all the laws of economical screenplay construction, since they are constantly thrown together, they go from hate to affection, and they get drunk together one night and tear up the living room together…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." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"‘Bringing Down the House’ is a gut-busting black-and-white culture clash comedy. It's not elegantly done. Some of the acting is too broad to enjoy. It has plot problems and racial-stereotype problems…The laughs are as obvious as they are genuine. Martin and Latifah make the most out of the slanguage barrier…But the real hoots come from unexpected corners--Plowright singing an offensive field hand's spiritual, Levy leering and a catfight between Latifah and a prissy bigot (Missi Pyle) that is shocking in its comic brutality and its outcome. ‘Bringing Down the House’ isn't art. But it is funny." --Roger Moore, The Baltimore Sun

"Enter Latifah first in penitentiary wear, then in eye-popping duds that would make Christina Aguilera blush and, in one misbegotten scene, a maid's uniform; exit the audience cringing…It isn't that you don't laugh--it's that too often you wish you hadn't. The setup hatched by screenwriter Jason Filardi is as old and rich as the Hollywood Hills, but the comedy of mismatched partners works only if the laughs are at each player's expense…Charlene sasses Sanderson every which way, but somehow the joke is usually on her…She may slip out of that maid's uniform but, despite Latifah's winning ways, the character is here to serve." --Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times

"Almost everyone in the wan comedy ‘Bringing Down the House’ has done better work before, even those making their debut. High-school cafeteria soup has more flavor than this bland, tepid throwback…It's almost touching to see a movie determined to show how out of it an upper-middle-class White Angeleno is. But it's certainly not funny, since it seems there's a new sitcom every season built around the same idea…The picture has a handful of jokes that work--barely." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"Steve Martin and Queen Latifah may sound like an unlikely combination, but that's what comedy teams are all about. And in ‘Bringing Down the House,’ they prove to be among the best ever…Simply put, this film is that rarest of things--an outrageously wacky comedy that's also witty, edgy and--dare we say it? – insightful. But don't worry. You'll probably be too busy laughing to notice…This has to rank as one of Martin's finest performances, and that's saying a lot…Latifah, who earned an Oscar nomination for her supporting performance in ‘Chicago,’ is even more winning in this film…all she needs to do to steal a scene is simply be in it." --Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"In this coarse, poorly tuned comedy, 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…Stock farce characters and stale scenes of mayhem fill the downtime between the Martin-Latifah skirmishes…In one particularly unpleasant extended ‘joke,'’ Charlene goes claw to claw with Kate's gold-digging sister in a catfight and they slam each other with an ugly violence that KO's audience laughter." --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly