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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bringing down the House (released in 2003) - Starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifah

How can you wipe away years of stereotypical notions and distrust about the other side of the line? Bringing Down the House, is a comical look into the racial stereotypes ingrained in to the American psyche where color decides the quality of life you lead. Directed by Adam Shankman, the movie stars Steve Martin and Queen Latifah, and is about the coming together of two radically different people and understanding life better.
Peter Sanderson is an uptight successful lawyer whose work compulsions has driven a wedge in his marital life. Peter and his wife Jean are separated and he tries hard to connect with his children. But work pressures, competitive partners and bosses keep him away from home. He tries to date the mysterious “Lawyer Girl” to improve his love life and becomes besotted by the picture she sends him. But soon it is revealed that the photo had Charlene Morton, an over-weight African American convict who was trying to get Peter to fight her case. Charlene lands up at stunned Peter's doorstep pleading for him to take up her case as she had been wrongfully incarcerated. When Peter refuses she blackmails him by threatening to make their conversations public. So after a lot of hiccups he agrees to look in to her case and asks her to masquerade as the children's nanny for the while.

On the work front Peter and his partner Howie try hard to impress Mrs Virgine Arness, an eccentric billionairess to get her to transfer some of her business. Mrs Harness is very condescending to the black community and Peter tries hard to placate Charlene who explodes after her insensitive actions. It is extremely hilarious when Charlene's trick of spiking Mrs. Arness's food comes a cropper with Peter consuming the whole concoction subsequently spending the whole evening hopping to the bathroom. Amidst all controversies, Howie takes a shine to Charlene and even the Sanderson kids get to like her. Charlene teaches Peter to loosen up and slowly brings him closer to Jean, his wife.
Peter regrets his earlier actions and agrees to fight Charlene's conviction. He gathers evidence about her boyfriend who had framed her and overturns the verdict. Charlene and Howie get hitched and Peter reconciles with his wife. Mrs. Arness after a mind-boggling night out with fellow black Americans gets to renew her outlook on life and start life afresh. Her business helps Peter to start on his own, away from his catty competitive colleagues.
This movie is a refreshing look at the underlying racial inequities in American society. The perceived notions about the colored people by the white upper class is laid bare and also the movie offers a insight in to the black societies. It is a feel good movie where the triumph of human sensibilities over narrow walls of race and wealth. It sure tickles your funny bone in-spite of tackling such a weighty issue. The movie was both a critical and box office success. Steve Martin was nominated for the MTV award for the best dance sequence. Queen Latifah for her zesty portrayal won the Teen choice awards and the NACCP awards for the best actress. Her fight with Jean's sister Allison also garnered her the eyeballs.
A great movie for shooing away boring weekends.

Bringing down the House (released in 2003) - Starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifah

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