Jumping the Broom Movie Review

Cover of "The Inkwell"
Jumping the Broom is this…with a wedding. Cover of The Inkwell

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Jumping the Broom tells the story of a young woman, Sabrina Watson (played by Paula Patton) who just wants to fall in love and get married, but always ends up with losers. She makes a hilarious promise to God if he will just send her the one. Her prayers seem to be answered when she hits the perfect man, Jason Taylor(played by Laz Alonzo) with her car. After a whirlwind romance, they get engaged and decide to marry at her parent’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. Her parents (Angela Bassett and Brian Stokes Mitchell) love him. She loves him. There’s just one tiny issue; they haven’t met his family.

If you’re like me, you are wondering how someone can neglect to meet their future in-laws until a day or two before the wedding. Don’t worry about this; you’ll find out eventually. In the beginning, allow yourself to be carried along by the movie. The filmmakers do a wonderful job of setting up the tensions and conflicts, showing you where there may be secrets without giving away too much of what those secrets are. It adds to the shock of the revelations as they slowly but surely come out.

Jumping the Broom is a character study in intraracial relations and the things that divide us. This film touches on socioeconomic divisions within the Black community in a way I haven’t seen since The Inkwell. The movie explores the different traditions, foods, and education of the Black elite versus the Black working class. The bride’s family speaks French, goes to Yale, and vacations in Martha’s Vineyard. The groom’s mother (played by Loretta Devine) is a postal worker in Brooklyn who is known for her sweet potatoe pies. It’s rare that you get to see both of these sides to Blacks and our culture onscreen. We are finally presented not as a monolith, but with the diverse socioeconomic and sociocultural characteristics that African-Americans encapsulate.

Although both matriarchs can come off as archetypal at times and the two lovebirds are emotional weathervanes, swinging from love to angry resentment with each little tiff, the supporting characters are, for the most part, well fleshed out. I was skeptical at the thought of Mike Epps and DeRay Davis in the same movie. I thought for sure that tomfoolery the likes of which would make even Tyler Perry shake his head were going to ensue, but both of these gentlemen surprised me. They showed more depth than I gave them credit for. It was also nice to see the former CSI castmember, Gary Dourdan, again as the chef for the wedding and Percy Romeo Miller (formerly known as Lil’ Romeo) as the cougar chasing Yale student. Sidenote: Why is Tasha Smith playing a cougar again? I know she plays it well, but I’d love to see her do more.

The great importance that this movie gave to the tradition of jumping the broom is understandable, but I don’t think they did as good of a job of conveying anything more than the passion the mother’s personal request. What does it mean to Black people as a whole? To be honest, I’ve only been to one wedding where they jumped the broom, and all I know of it is the where it comes from. How many of us do it?

I liked the opening montage of all of the couples getting married (and I clearly spotted the eighties picture–long live the jheri!). Other minor touches I loved were Geneva (played by Valarie Pettiford, Big DeeDee from Half & Half), the wedding planner, and the opening scene.

I would give this movie a B overall. At times, there were a bit too many subplots moving at the same time. They could have done without the subplot between the Watsons. Scenes between Geneva and Mrs. Watson were a little melodramatic and strained. There was a misstep or two in the dialogue there. Other than that, I found this to be a thoroughly enjoy movie.

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