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Bringing Down the House (2003)

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(77 votes)
Critic Rating
(12 reviews)
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Quotes (19)
Trivia (1)
Plot Description
Shooting Locations

Directed by
Adam Shankman

Written by
Jason Filardi

Steve Martin, Queen Latifah, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, Jean Smart [more]

Release Date
 USA: Mar 7, 2003
 UK: 30 May 2003
DVD Release Date
 R1: Aug 5, 2003
 R2: 12 Jan 2004

Budget $35,000,000

Official Website:
Bringing Down the House Website

MPAA Rating
Rated PG-13 for language, sexual humor and drug material.

Running Time
1 hour, 45 minutes

Country USA

Studio Touchstone Pictures

More info on

Other Titles
• Bringing Down the House
• In the Houze

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Review of Bringing Down the House (2003) by Susan Granger

Susan Granger's review of "Bringing Down the House" (Touchstone Pictures)

Wild 'n' crazy Steve Martin teams with Oscar-nominated Queen Latifah ("Chicago") in this ribald, politically-incorrect culture-clash comedy. Martin plays Los Angeles tax attorney Peter Sanderson, a workaholic whose wife (Jean Smart) has left him. Lonely, he looks for a woman with similar interests in an Internet chat room, finds "lawyer girl" and invites her to his suburban home for drinks. However, instead of the svelte blonde he expects, a voluptuous African-American convicted felon named Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah) appears, imploring him to help her clear her name. She won't take "no" for an answer, befriending his kids (Kimberly J. Brown, Angus T. Jones) and jeopardizing his relationship with a billionaire prospective client (Joan Plowright) who dotes on an English bulldog named William Shakespeare.

Steve Martin hasn't done this kind of broad, hammy physical comedy since "Three Amigos," and he effectively plays off Queen Latifah's bold 'n' brassy foil. Eugene Levy ("American Pie") scores as an attorney pal besotted by the "Congo goddess," as does Missi Pyle as Martin's wickedly hateful sister-in-law and Betty White as a nosy, nasty neighbor. Writer Jason Filardi is fortunate that his mediocre screenplay, sadly lacking in originality, is elevated by the performances. Director Adam Shankman ("The Wedding Planner") allows the free-wheeling actors, including Ms. Plowright, to run with the abundant humor inherent in a parody of prejudice and racial stereotyping that's juiced up by the hip-hop and soul numbers in Lalo Schifrin's retro score. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Bringing Down the House" is a goofy, outrageous 6. Credit the stars for the sassy dazzle in this light-hearted, if flimsy farce.

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X-RT-RatingText: 6/10

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