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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 Collin Souter

"Would you give $31 mil to 'Juwanna Mann?' No, of course not. And yet..."
1 stars

Recently, fellow film critic Nick Digilio came up with a new movie term: “Rhinestoning.” It happens when two unlikely actors team up together for the first time in hopes that we will notice some magical chemistry between the two. When it fails, it “Rhinestones” (named after the 1984 Bob Clark debacle “Rhinestone,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton). The new movie “Bringing Down The House” Rhinestones in a big way, but not because the cast lacks talent. In fact, I have no doubt that Steve Martin and Queen Latifah could be a good team in a good movie, but “Bringing Down The House,” like “Rhinestone,” never had a chance at being good for anybody. (NOTE: Rhinestoning works for mis-matched food and duets as well)

This is a bad movie on every level imaginable. The fact that it’s a comedy makes it all the more depressing. I find it strange that there can be something funny about a bad murder mystery, or a bad drama, or even a bad war movie. Yet there is nothing funny about a bad comedy. Once the comedy falls flat on its face, it has nowhere else to go. The “so bad it’s good” element does not exist in a bad comedy, at least not that I can think of. “Bringing Down the House” deserves to be buried in obscurity (if not burned beyond recognition) alongside other bad comedies of its ilk including “Carbon Copy,” “He’s My Girl,” “Soul Man” and “Chu-Chu and the Philly Flash.”

I don’t feel I need to spill out a full plot synopsis since the trailer has been mercilessly shoved down our collective throats since Christmas 2002. But anyway, Steve Martin plays Peter Sanderson, an uptight lawyer who mistakenly makes a date on an internet chat room with a street-wise black woman, Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah). She invades his comfortable suburban household and turns his life upside down by insisting that he take her case to prove her innocence. What’s her case, you ask? You know, oddly enough, it’s been a few days since I’ve seen the film and, really, I gotta say, I DIDN’T CARE!!! Oh, and Martin’s best friend, Howie (Eugene Levy), has the hots for her. Yadda-yadda-yadda…

So, there are your plot spoilers. Whoop-de-fricken-do! I guess I could also tell you about the bevy of clichéd and inhuman supporting characters. There’s Peter’s ex-wife, Kate (Jean Smart), who promises the audience that if this movie has any laughs lurking somewhere, they most certainly won’t come from her. She’s the token bland, serious character who has nothing interesting or funny to say to anybody. Then there’s her sister, Ashley (Missi Pyle), whom we are meant to hate because she unapologetically spouts racial slurs to Charlene. And we hate her, yes, but I hate everybody in this movie and her words don’t arouse anger, but worse (for a comedy) discomfort.

“Bringing Down The House” solves the problems of this character simply by having Charlene meet her in the ladies room to beat the crap out of her. This is how she deals with racial intolerance? This is what makes us cheer for Charlene? That she can whoop-ass? Worse, Peter has an openly racist, homo-phobic neighbor across the street who also happens to be the mother of his boss and will probably bust Peter if she sees a black woman enter his house. Peter solves this problem by constantly trying to hide Charlene away from the neighbors (He hides her behind an inflated pool raft as they enter his house). These problems aren’t dealt with in a sensitive, civilized manner, but in a sub-par sitcom level that caters to the lowest common denominator of filmgoer.

This is a comedy for anybody who liked “Juanna Man.” This is a comedy that solves all its problems with an over-choreographed fistfight. This is a comedy that dresses up a little dog in a funny outfit for every scene in which it appears. This is a comedy that contains a dinner scene where one of the plates has XLAX (unbeknownst to everyone in the room, of course, except for Charlene who poses as a maid so Martin can land a rich client). The plates get switched around and we’re supposed to feel the suspense as they eat. This is a comedy in which Eugene Levy must say the line: “You got me straight-trippin, boo.” This is a comedy where about 90 minutes in, you realize that as bad as everything has been, you have yet to see the scene in which Steve Martin dresses like Eminem and tries to talk street in a predominantly black dance club. You saw it in the trailer. You know it’s coming. It’s the most embarrassing moment of Steve Martin’s career.

Want more? Fine. This is a comedy in which Martin and Latifah get drunk, come home, and get into a comical (but I stress UNFUNNY) and innocent situation where Latifah is seen riding on top of Martin and we wait for the front door to open. This is a comedy where Latifah solves the problem of Martin’s teenage daughter almost being raped by dangling the perpetrator from a roof while demanding an apology in front of all of his friends (i.e. “A Fish Called Wanda”). This is a comedy in which a little boy is taught to read, via Juggs Magazine. This is a comedy in which Martin can’t be seen in public with Latifah without one of the racist supporting characters seeing him and making a fuss, to which Martin responds, “Oh, no, she’s just my, uuuhhh, servant.” (Any restaurant, any golf course, any street in the city, somebody is always there, just like life, right?)

In case I haven’t made my point yet, let me put it bluntly for those of you who still might want to check this movie out: IT’S RACIST, UNFUNNY GARBAGE AND EVERYONE INVOLVED SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES!!!

There, I just spoiled every joke in the movie for you and I couldn’t be happier about it. Seriously, you may as well just stay home and watch a 36-hour marathon of “Three’s Company” on TV Land and save yourself the $9 (consider also the tough economy and the pending war with Iraq. Just consider it, that’s all). Somehow, $31 million worth of people forked over $6-9 a piece on its opening weekend (We are entering the movie’s second weekend as I write this).

Did the trailer really look that good to people? Watching Steve Martin and Queen Latifah Rhinestone their way through this pedestrian and childish script seemed like a good idea to this many human host bodies? Somebody, please, refresh my memory. Did “Rhinestone” make money in its day? And at this point, should I be shocked if in fact it did? I have no doubt that it still reeks of festering possum turds, but I doubt it has a racist, offensive bone in its body. That alone makes it a better and far more likable movie than “Bringing Down The House.”

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 03/14/03 16:55:07
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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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