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Overall Rating
2.11

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

5 reviews, 109 user ratings



Bringing Down the House
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by MP Bartley

"Damn you all!"
1 stars

Yeah, damn you all who visit this website. It's for your reason that we critics have to physically force ourselves to sit though car wrecks such as this, films where we'd quite honestly have nails forced underneath our fingernails. Where we'd rather snort a litre of tabasco sauce. Where we'd rather gouge our own eyes out with a spoon, fry them and feed them to ourselves. Yes, damn you all for making me endure this cinematic horror. I hope you're happy.

Steve Martin is Peter Banks, a successful lawyer but divorced and sees his kids only on weekends. He sets up an internet date with who he hopes is also an attractive, single female lawyer. Except when she turns up at his house she isn't. She's Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah) a criminal, who blackmails Peter into proving her innocence.

Ok, so who do you have sympathy for? The basically decent, career-minded, family man, just looking to alleviate his loneliness, or the loud-mouthed, violent criminal who blackmails him into taking her in by screaming she's pregnant with his baby on the streets?

Ok, I've taken down your answer and congratulations you're in 99% of the majority. Guess which answer the movie chooses.

That's right, we're supposed to root for Charlene. Why? Presumably because she's black, and in Hollywood, black = wacky/impoverished or both. What a lovely view that is to take. And if you think that's racist, hey, don't worry there's LOADS of racist people in here!

Betty White, Martin's neighbour asks him if there's any negros about because she's sure she heard one. Martins sister-in-law makes a Jemima joke. A junior associate makes a jungle fever remark later on. And when Charlene forces Peter to hang up the phone when he's about to speak to the police, he jabbers in Chinese instead. He doesn't simply hang up, or say he called the wrong number, he makes a casually racist remark. One that doesn't come back to haunt him by the way. But that's ok, because hey, Chinese people aren't in this movie and aren't as wacky as black people!

Is racism funny? No, but highlighting the ignorance behind it is, with intelligence. However, this was best done in the 1970's with the likes of 'Blazing Saddles'. Haven't we got over that by now? It's a sad, sad sign of the world we live in, when we're supposed to snigger at the 'shocking' use of the word negro. We simply can't have the notion of black people actually being, well, equal, can we? Certainly not in 21st century Hollywood, where a black person is still the butt of a joke apparently. By the way, thanks Latifah for PRODUCING this abomination. You truly are a 'sister'.

But there is no intelligence behind 'Bringing Down The House', not a smidgen of it. I could go on for hours about what's wrong with this film. It's not being 'daring' or 'provocative' by using casual racism as a joke, it's being idiotic. And not idiotic as in the simple charms of 'Dumb and Dumber', idiotic as in 'retarded'. Look! There's a white character talking in black jive! That means we're being ironic about it! No, patronising is the word we're looking for. There's no other way of describing an uptight middle-class character of wanting to 'go native' to have some fun. Because didn't you know that all us white folk need to do to have fun, is to have black criminals break into our house and organise a BBQ? All black people just sit around waiting for a party to start by the way. They have no jobs you see.

And if all else fails, just fall back on 'the-laxative-in-the-dinner-trick'. Because...that's FUNNY, RIGHT?!Especially when, oh stop me, you're going to die here...especially when it...GOES TO THE WRONG PERSON!!!!!!!

There's not even a half-decent performance to make any of this wretched mess salvageable. Martin should hang his head in shame and hope that we all forgive him one day. Eugene Levy and Joan Plowright (as an old lady who gets stoned at the end by -hey!- a black person. Only black people take drugs you see. White people who do, just fall over and make fools of themselves. Black people don't because they must take LOADS of drugs seeing as how they're all criminals and jobless an' all) must have been blackmailed, like Peter, into appearing in this drivel.

And Latifah? I don't think it's any exaggeration to say this is the worst performance I've ever seen anyone give. Look at the scene where Peter first throws her out. She screws her face up and stomps off to scream on the street outside. It's an astonishingly bad moment, like a 7 year old in a McDonalds advert. Then the scene where she tracks Peter down to a fancy restaurant and shouts things like "Hot wings! My ass be lookin' mean?". It's so bad I wanted to shoot her in the face and then turn it on myself just so I didn't have to even look at her anymore. And the (pretty nasty) fight between her and Peter's sister-in-law? Horribly out of place, horribly out of tone, horribly out of control, horribly acted. Pretty much sums up the film.

Perhaps the worst moment (and in one way, the funniest) is when it trys to turn itself into a thriller in the final 10 minutes. Let me ask you another question: if you shot a handgun with bullets made of metal, at a mobile phone made of plastic, what do you think would happen?

Let me repeat: METAL. SHOT AT. PLASTIC.

Would it a) shatter the phone into pieces, killing the person who has it above their chest instantly, or

b)lodge in the phone with no other damage.

Pick your answer. Then try and guess the films answer.

When people criticise comedys in particular, the usual rebuke is "oh lighen up! It's just a comedy, meant to be FUN!!!". Ok, I have lightened up. I didn't laugh once. I didn't smile, I didn't chuckle, I didn't grin. So as a comedy it's dead on arrival. As a film it's an insulting, squalid, horrible, horrible piece of work. The girl I was going out with at the time wanted to see this. We no longer go out. The two events may be related.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7139&reviewer=293
originally posted: 11/21/03 04:00:17
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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
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS - TRULT TERRIBLE 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
3/08/04 ROBERT "AMERICA WAS BUILT ON THIS KIND OF 'SLAP-STIX' PEOPLE", LIGHTEN-UP! 5 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 tmv LIGHTEN UP PEOPLE, ITS A COMEDY! U CRITICIZE AS IF UR LIFE DEPENDED ON THIS MOVIE! 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 Film Dude ANDREW YOU STUPID FUCK, THERE IS NO CHEMISTRY!!! 1 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Mar-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Sep-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  03-Apr-2003


Directed by
  Adam Shankman

Written by
  Jason Filardi

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



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