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Bringing Down the House (2003)

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(77 votes)
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(12 reviews)
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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 Homer Yen

Chemistry Fizzles in "Bringing Down the House"
by Homer Yen
(c) 2003

If you haven't seen "Bringing Down the House" but are perhaps thinking about it, you might be swayed into watching it for two reasons. Star Steve Martin possesses a crisp and funny persona, boyishly appealing charm, and a sit-up-and-take-notice eloquence. If you found him engaging as this year's host of the Academy Awards, you'll find him equally engaging in this film. The other noticeable presence belongs to Queen Latifah, who oozes confidence, sexuality, and a don't-be-disrespecting-me pride.

We enjoy watching these two on screen. And though an unlikely couple, they have good chemistry together. However, while this looks like the perfect catalyst for some comedic sparks, the way in which the film evolves causes the duo's vibrancy to fizzle.

Steve Martin and Queen Latifah come to know each other as a result of one of those blind chat rooms. He's a highly successful tax attorney named Peter. But immense success like this comes with some sacrifices. He is a divorced father of two. And, he has become so uptight and stressed from the pressure of his high-profile position, the challenges to his dominance from a rookie colleague, the vituperative musings of his plastic ex-sister-in-law, and the uncomfortable presence of his nosy and dotty neighbor.

His frail suburban existence is only slightly buoyed by his online relationship with Lawyergirl, who Peter believes to be an attractive female attorney. His brief chat room correspondence scenes are accompanied by playful music that evoke a "You've Got Mail" kind of romantic playfulness (or perhaps an urge to shop at a small French boutique). But when they finally break their code of anonymity, he is aghast to learn that she looks less like the prim attorney he had envisioned but more like Queen Latifah on a very bad hair day. He does his best to get rid of her, but she refuses to leave unless he helps her with a case in which she states that she has been wrongfully accused.

Most of the comedy emanates from this strange couple at odds with each other. He does his best to maintain his white-collar world. But she possesses many real-world skills that help to make him a better person. She teaches him how to be a more attentive father, how to build resolve, and how to flaunt his manhood to win back his ex-wife. He definitely needs a few pointers. After all, in his most sexually primal state, the best dirty talk he can muster is "I want to have sexual intercourse with you!" It's no surprise that they start to bond.

While the movie has its moments, it's surprisingly not as cheery or as humorous as one might think. Partly, it doesn't have the uproarious quality you'd expect from seeing the trailers. Other than the lesson in sex and the final scene in which Peter goes undercover as one of the homie-boyz, the film is kind of on cruise control. Strangely, our luscious Queen is eventually paired with Peter's associate, Howie (played by Eugene Levy). Ok, Howie is kind of funny behind those furry eyebrows and in his deadpan sort of way. But it kind of goes against the convention of standard romantic comedies. Blending these two is like watching oil and vinegar come together. You'll like Steve and Queen, but consider "Bringing Down the House" merely a mild distraction.

Grade:  C
S:        1 out of 3
L:        1 out of 3
V:        1 out of 3
X-RAMR-ID: 34445
X-Language: en
X-RT-ReviewID: 1121769
X-RT-TitleID: 1120902
X-RT-AuthorID: 1370
X-RT-RatingText: C

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