It comes as no surprise that Jumping the Broom is not a good movie. It’s not funny, and it’s obnoxious about trying to be funny, so let me confirm that you need not feel guilty for skipping this one.
Sabrina (Paula Patton) won’t shut up from the moment we meet her, in voiceover or in dialogue. Jason (Laz Alonso) must be the most patient man in the world, and he likes opera. After five months of dating, Jason proposes to Sabrina because she got a job in China and he wants them to be together.
Things get worse when we get to the wedding preparations. Poor Julie Bowen plays Annie, a highly stressed wedding planner. She asks downright racist questions about the difference in skin tone of the various African-American family members. She also improvises a “grrrrl” and manages to work a fried chicken stereotype in there. The suntan lotion scene would be shocking, if Annie weren’t already so inappropriate.
Well, Sabrina’s never met Jason’s parents. Pam (Loretta Devine) is a sassy postal worker. She brings along her friend Shonda (Tasha Smith) to make bidet jokes at the wealthy Claudine’s (Angela Bassett) Martha’s Vineyard estate. Pam’s just so sassy, how could she ever fit in with Claudine’s side of the family!
This is basically a really poorly planned wedding. Nobody contacted any of the people in the wedding party to tell them what they needed to wear or bring. Not only haven’t Jason and Sabrina met each other’s families, they clearly haven’t even talked about them. By the night before the wedding, Jason should have at least said, “Listen Honey, my mom is traditional and wants the broom ceremony, so even though we decided against it, it’s going to be an issue so let’s be prepared to deal with her.”
These family comedies are a real pet peeve of mine because most of them celebrate dysfunction and bad behavior. I will give Jumping the Broom credit that the tone all along is that people should be honest and discuss their issues, rather than keep secrets and try to orchestrate their perfect fantasy.
Uncle Willie Earl (Mike Epps) does confront Pam about sabotaging the wedding and the best man Ricky (Pooch Hall) does tell cousin Malcolm (Deray Davis) he should not speculate about the couple’s personal life. The film tries to promote healthy discussion but it’s no funnier and there are worse offenses in the racism (is it reverse racism to foist those jokes onto a white character?) and annoying characters.
Jumping the Broom drops serious bombs like a Tyler Perry movie. There’s also a religious agenda too. Jason prays to get Sabrina back when conflict tears them apart, and Pam prays on the family secrets she learns about Claudine. When Jason professes his love in the climax, his speech seriously reminded me of “this is our hill, and our beans” from The Naked Gun.