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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.27%
Worth A Look: 8.63%
Average: 3.6%
Pretty Bad: 8.63%
Total Crap61.87%

5 reviews, 109 user ratings

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Bringing Down the House
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"DO NOT Admit That You Like This Movie To Me"
1 stars

Movies like Bringing Down the House separate the average moviegoer from the true idiots of the world. Even the average moviegoer has the smarts to occasionally dismiss the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Kangaroo Jacks of the world. Movies like Bringing Down the House are the reason you have the option to walk out and get a refund. The problem is that you will never appreciate how bad this film is or fester in the leagues of human bowel movements from which it arose if you leave after a half-hour. It ranks among the most insultingly racist films ever made with nary a shred of comic possibility in sight and deserves to go down in history as one of the worst films ever made to find its way into a theatrical schedule. Movies like Bringing Down the House are the reason the rest of the world hates the United States.

Forget about the goofy trailers you’ve been seeing or whatever smile you think this material could bring to your face and just read aloud the following synopsis. Steve Martin plays Peter Sanderson, a tax lawyer divorced from his wife, Kate (Jean Smart). As the film opens, he’s been playing You’ve Got Mail with internet presence “lawyer-girl” and sets up a meeting with whom he thinks is an attractive upper-class white woman. Of course, he didn’t look at that picture attachment close enough to see convicted felon, Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah) being stuffed into a police car in the background and is naturally taken aback when she arrives at his front door. “I hope you like cham...poo.” (This wordplay from bubbling alcohol to a foul smelling brown substance is more than just coincidence in this movie.)

Peter asks Charlene to leave, but she refuses until he helps to expunge her record. His rejection causes her to blackmail him and stage a scene on his front lawn about dumping a pregnant woman. This is an embarrassing enough feat, but couple that with Peter making sure that his racist neighbor (Betty White), who happens to be his boss’ sister, doesn’t hear or see her. More about her in a minute. Peter throws her out again in the morning and in the timespan it takes to pick up his estranged kids, Charlene has broken in and staged a house party consisting of what seems like hundreds of black friends. This is the second film in the last few months (Antwone Fisher) where a screenplay suggests that black people can gather in the hundreds at the drop of a hat. A neat trick in this movie considering that “negroes” aren’t likely allowed anywhere within a kiloton blast radius of these people.

Have I swayed off the synopsis? Absolutely not, because this is where the film takes us from here; repeated jokes about black people and other minorities (Martin imitates a Chinese person on the phone) while the central black figure is hidden from everyone else in the movie as if she were ALF. Betty White makes reference to never seeing Mexicans around without a leafblower, she hears people speaking “negro” outside and even tells Peter’s six-year son to get a new haircut because the one he has makes him “look like a fag.” Peter’s sister-in-law (Missi Pyle) mistakes Charlene for a waitress and calls her “Shaniqua” and “Jemima” in public. Charlene enters a clubhouse to the theme of “Jungle Love”, asks for hot wings and has dialogue like “we gonna play hide the sister or do I have to do that slave thing?

For the penultimate coup de grace though, we have to watch Joan Plowright (Academy-award nominated actress once married to Laurence Olivier) singing a plantation song at the dinner table while Charlene “the nanny” serves. The fact that Peter has a black secretary at the end of the film can only suggest that the film has finally caught up to affirimitive action, although even that is a quantum leap considering how far back in the stone age this film puts race relations. This is family-friendly Disney PG-13 entertainment though, so no one even thinks to mutter the “N” word even though its what most of them are thinking.

Comedies involving jokes about race can be funny (1941) or satirically edgy (Bulworth). But when the fish in the fish-out-of-water situation is treated like it was plucked from the lake outside the nuclear power plant and the glofish shamelessly wrecks people’s lives, whom are we to root for? Blackmail, B&E and assault are enough to get anyone arrested on the spot especially in the vanilla world in which these characters live. The sad part is that some may view this film as progress. Not just a black female lead, but a plump one. Never mind that the film doesn’t even have the balls to follow through on a potential romance; leaving Peter to get back into the graces of his ex-wife and providing a sidekick (Eugene Levy) with a fetish for large black women.

As Queen Latifah is given an executive producer credit on the film, her involvement must have been at the early stages. How she was able to secure Steve Martin, one of the great humorists of all time and award-winning writer of screen, stage and books, gives “kill whitey” a whole new meaning. Someone out there MUST have looked at Jason Filardi’s screenplay and identified it as a new low in the written word. Ignore the Krappy Kream-filled Kommunity stuff for a minute and just treat it as an abomination in storytelling. Peter doesn’t want his son throwing dice with Charlene, but dealing cards for Betty White is acceptable. Peter struggles understanding Charlene’s slang (even in the final scene) but has no problem conversing in rap culture when he actually goes undercover as a white homey in a black club. And when all else fails, Filardi even stoops to throw in the good-ol-stand-by mistaken laxative joke. The dialogue even reeks of an amateur with a lobotomy.

As Peter talks about his daughter and Charlene notices her sneaking out with a boy:
“My daughter is going places.”
“Oh, she’s going places all right.”

As Peter’s ex-wife talks to her sister about him while he’s spotted dancing provocatively with Charlene:
“He was so moved by that song.”
“Oh he’s moving all right.”

As Peter is thanking Charlene at the end:
“Thanks for shaking things up around here.”
“Shaking is what I do best.”

All this incompetence is handled under the direction of one Adam Shankman, who previously gave us singer/actress Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner and singer/actress Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember. Inoffensive and just plain lame as those films were, the jump into complete ugliness is a leap that has eluded even the worst of the studio hacks. Take the bathroom sequence where Charlene and Ashley go womano-a-tae-bo on each other for a good five minutes. This isn’t just a comuppance, but a full-on street brawl that makes the criticized scene in The Cable Guy where Jim Carrey physically beats Owen Wilson appear like Zsa Zsa slapping the cop. Charlene also dispenses some Uncle Buck justice, A Fish Called Wanda-style when Peter’s daughter is taken advantage of at a party. The seriousness of the matter is reduced to a “get all up in that” moment of sharing between father and daughter. A character even takes a bullet point blank to the chest in the film’s climax. If you’re doing a critical checklist:

Screenplay – sucks. CHECK!
Performances – embarrassing. CHECK!
Offensive? – DOUBLE CHECK!!

This is a movie for stupid ignorant white people. Be on the lookout for names on the film’s ads like David Sheehan, Jim Svejda and Clay Smith, because any critic who gives this film a positive review should be fired on the spot. If you’re not a critic and just a regular moviegoer, do yourself a favor and don’t admit that you like this movie in my presence, because I’ll kick you in the shins and spit on you. I’m ashamed that this movie exists, that people got paid for it and that someone out there will eventually add it to their DVD collection. I beg of you not to contribute to the $50 million payday this film is destined for and to cut off relations with those who do. You will not see a worse film than Bringing Down the House all year or next year or the year after that.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 03/07/03 09:20:35
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User Comments

2/26/14 FireWithFire Reboot:Loud White woman terrorizes rich Black man,KO's Black racist.Now THAT's FUNNY!!!! 1 stars
6/23/13 Charles Tatum I didn't hate this as much as I thought I would. 3 stars
11/30/08 Vlad Hollywood is racist against Whites. 1 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann I actually got diarrhea from seeing this cinematic monstrosity.Totally racist! 1 stars
2/11/07 Monster W. Kung Vomit-inducingly bad. 1 stars
9/08/06 Tiffany Really funny, loved it 5 stars
8/05/06 H A EC's review is right on. Most pathetic movie I've ever seen. 1 stars
6/11/06 S Laws Briefly, I found the film highly degrades women and African Americans. Disgusting! 1 stars
3/20/06 C-Dawg i luvded it dawwwg!!! and it wuz funne 5 stars
1/15/06 JM Synth Not without laughs, but they're few and far between, and much of the movie is offensive 2 stars
6/24/05 Weltner This & "White Chicks,most racist,anti-White movies of 2004. Hooray for Hollywood!! 1 stars
5/28/05 Weltner Whites-square,tight-assed,racist,blacks-cool,funky,loose,smart,etc.F-YOU hollywood!!!! 1 stars
5/07/05 Terry S. Good humor and full of warmth (IF you are out for a good time, not an award-winner). 4 stars
3/21/05 Gina Film is hilarious! EC should look up "satire" and lose the chip on his shoulder. Fool! 5 stars
6/19/04 J Unfunny and pointless except when Steve become a ganster! * out of 4 1 stars
6/08/04 Ryan Clark Very funny, without encouraging racism in any way. If anything, it makes it unattractive. 5 stars
6/08/04 Tara Earlier in the movie we learned that the cell phone was made of titanium, not plastic. 3 stars
5/27/04 karja i thought this movie was funny. shows racism ppl dont want to admit. ERIK CHILDRESS SUCKS! 5 stars
5/14/04 Mac The worst movie I have seen all year. 1 stars
5/12/04 Kelly Excellent and Funny 5 stars
4/30/04 Aaron Loved this movie, if it wasn't meant to be funny, it atleast show the trueness of racism. 5 stars
4/16/04 Matt Clark This movie is hilarious. 5 stars
3/31/04 Mona Llott Dangle usurper Latifah from a rooftop until she confesses to making horrible movies! 1 stars
3/31/04 Mona Little MY BIG FAT GEEK MEDDLING (Previous poster is right;stuff like this is why I CAN'T lightenup 1 stars
3/31/04 No, ROBERT. Slapstick is light humor; this is not. If America was built on this, no wonder it is in such bad shape today! 1 stars
3/04/04 Millie Maelstrom I can't think of anyone who needs this heavy-handed message, now that Marge Schott is dead. 1 stars
2/22/04 carrie I thought it was a great laugh! Where is everyone's sense of humor? 5 stars
1/23/04 Chloe Brody Who dere? Who dere? Fucking Steve Martin is there!!! 1 stars
1/18/04 Bemused Often more trash from a has-been and and even more from a never-was. 1 stars
12/02/03 Chris I was in the theater with all african american people, they loved it, and I did to. 4 stars
11/21/03 And Take Steve Martin With You Queen Latifah should die. This & "Scary Movie 3" are great ways to follow-up an Oscar nom.. 1 stars
11/21/03 y2mckay This movie sucks balls. Queen Latifah's "I'm a pissed off black chick" shtick is pathetic 1 stars
11/14/03 jojo it rocked and who ever wrote this should go drown in a lake 5 stars
10/28/03 Mona Lott Dangle usurper Latifah from a rooftop until she confesses to making horrid movies! 1 stars
10/28/03 Mona Little MY BIG FAT GEEK MEDDLING 1 stars
10/09/03 JC Davis Sr This film is really awful 2 stars
10/06/03 Victoria H. This movies was a racist abomination. Not a laugh in it either. HORRIBLE! 1 stars
10/06/03 Kitty I thought it was pretty funny, Latifa was great in this! Steve Martin annoyed me, though 4 stars
9/22/03 Darryl Screw all the critics - this is a hilarious movie. Queen Latifah is wonderful! 5 stars
9/08/03 Kyle Queen Latifah is wonderful and funny! I just don't get all these negative ratings??? 4 stars
9/06/03 brian langa Its easy to see that most critics here are unfunny 4 stars
9/03/03 palaboy101 u have got to see this hilarious movie. CRITICS ARE CRITICS! 4 stars
8/31/03 Kitty Kelso FUCK THE BAD REVIEWS!!! martin and latifah kicked ass!!! 5 stars
8/23/03 Terrance Rogers it was good but nothing i'd go crazy over 4 stars
8/20/03 nr great 5 stars
8/18/03 Gil Carlson If you've seen the trailers, you've already seen the best bits. 1 stars
8/13/03 Kooler the most racist unfunny film ever 1 stars
8/13/03 Leah Stupid, Offensive, Sucks!! 1 stars
8/03/03 Ash UNFUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
6/10/03 Lola Loved every minute of it 5 stars
6/03/03 Virgil I liked this movie, I'm white, and why don't you lighten up a little? 5 stars
5/16/03 Piz dumb and too over-the-top. My I didn't get it, I never laughed 1 stars
4/26/03 OnlyChild Disappointing, since i like Steve Martin & Queen Latifah 3 stars
4/26/03 John Aster Habig Like Blazing Saddles it's not racist it satires racism you can't denounce it w/o seeing it 5 stars
4/25/03 jackass fuck all yall 5 stars
4/19/03 Linda A. Williams Racist, degrading, promotes stereotypes 1 stars
4/18/03 earl duron racist and offensive trash 1 stars
4/17/03 Tonya Kennedy Very stereotypical and offensive 2 stars
4/15/03 Innocent^Eyes Enjoyed but it could of been better 3 stars
4/14/03 Melanie This movie really wasn't bad. It was funny! 4 stars
4/14/03 malcolm insultingly stereotypical, Latifah should've showed those monster boobs 2 stars
4/12/03 me funny 5 stars
4/07/03 Shadaan Felfeli Awful, crappy, fuckall ...and all that jazz! 1 stars
4/05/03 M. Palmer I totally disagree with Erik Childress. It was a fun and lighthearted movie that pokes fun 4 stars
4/04/03 Noah This is truly the worst movie I've ever seen. 1 stars
4/02/03 Diane BDTH is hilarious....lighten up and get a sense of humor 5 stars
3/28/03 Doug This was the worst film I've seen in many years 1 stars
3/27/03 Karen Moore What the fuck country is Latifah queen of? 1 stars
3/26/03 Ken #1 US movie for 3 weeks. I'm rooting for Iraq. 1 stars
3/24/03 Antisocial shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits... These words are funnier than this film 1 stars
3/24/03 Rob This movie has made $67 million in 3 weeks. Think we'll be cursed with a sequel?! 1 stars
3/23/03 Winthrop J Applesmythe III steve martin rules. eugene levy is great. queen latifah is great. this movie SU-HUCKS. 1 stars
3/21/03 AJ The film rocks! 5 stars
3/20/03 May Q. Horney Dangle "queen" Latifah from a rooftop til she gets what being presumed guilty's really like 1 stars
3/20/03 bob leather jacket It really sucks all ass...stupid racist flick 1 stars
3/17/03 Peter Steve Martin shows that he is flexible here with such a new role to him. Kicks butt! 5 stars
3/17/03 Ken #1 for 2 weeks? How many brain-dead mutants live in this fucking country? 1 stars
3/17/03 Charlie Bauer I saw this movie at a theater in a fairly diverse area (Burbank, CA), and everyone yelled o 1 stars
3/17/03 Bewildered Next time you morons gripe about a bad film remember how eagerly you sucked this one's dick 1 stars
3/15/03 Pamela Rarely have I laughed so little at a Steve Martin film 2 stars
3/15/03 Jin It has its moments. Lighten up people! 4 stars
3/14/03 Large Farve This proves the Steve Martin is actually dead and is just a puppet for directors 1 stars
3/14/03 Film Dude Movie sucks cock. Don't listen to Andrew Carden. 1 stars
3/14/03 Allen Wasen't that bad 3 stars
3/13/03 Ken Really really funny...if you're a fucking retard. 1 stars
3/13/03 Tommy EXCELLENT FILM! Makes fun of EVERYBODY like it was before the polically correct jerks 5 stars
3/12/03 bob mckenzie Worst. Movie. Ever! 1 stars
3/11/03 CaMs E. Childresses review-only a movie 4 stupid ig. white people=racial crap, like the movie. 1 stars
3/11/03 Devon Bott walked out on it after 45 minutes 1 stars
3/11/03 GMan the stupid white guy-messiah black figure shtick has been played out. FUCK popular culture. 1 stars
3/11/03 Karen Too many stereotypes. Embarrassing to watch at times. 2 stars
3/10/03 Andy Likely to go down as the most predictable and least funny "comedy" of the milennium. 1 stars
3/10/03 Reid I now have my new "Worst Film of All Time" and that may not change for a long while! 1 stars
3/10/03 Turd Detector Why did you stupid fucking people give this SHIT FILM $31 million dollars? 1 stars
3/09/03 Don Erik Childress Hits The Nail On the Head: This Movie SUCKS! What was Steve Martin THINKING? 1 stars
3/09/03 Chale This movie is too funny for words... 5 stars
3/09/03 Steve Buckley Cool Movie - critique is way off base 4 stars
3/08/03 Uncle Salty I saw this movie when it was called "Bullworth" and when the actress was hot.. 1 stars
3/08/03 Mister Bigglesworth Can't polish a turd. If you have to eat a turd sandwich, don't nibble. 1 stars
3/07/03 George Jung To anyone who even slightly liked this movie: FUCK YOU, FUCK YOUR FRIENDS & FUCK YOU AGAIN 1 stars
3/07/03 Dr. Bitterpants WHAT were the babyboomers who greenlighted this THINKING? Snoop Dog's posse going to pay $? 1 stars
3/07/03 Rob and Chris You Americans are gay and so is your shitty movie- go to hell...all of you 1 stars
3/07/03 Pete seriously one of the worst films EVER! not funny just xenophobic 1 stars
3/06/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer Horrific. And this woman was nominated for an OSCAR?! 1 stars
3/06/03 Kyle Poor Steve... 1 stars
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  07-Mar-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Sep-2004



Directed by
  Adam Shankman

Written by
  Jason Filardi

  Steve Martin
  Queen Latifah
  Eugene Levy
  Joan Plowright
  Jean Smart
  Missi Pyle

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