Movies: "Jumping the Broom" | Arts & Culture

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Movies: "Jumping the Broom"
Movies: "Jumping the Broom"

Hollywood just loves wedding movies -- it makes so many of them.  And why not?  A wedding is a self-contained story arc with multiple characters.  There's romance, family intrigue, hot bridesmaids, hunky best men, lots of drinking and emotions running high.  

Did I mention hot bridesmaids?

"Jumping the Broom" is a small wedding movie set in the prestigious African-American enclave of Martha's Vineyard (but mostly shot in tax-sheltered Nova Scotia), featuring a talented black cast, most of whom come from various TV series.  

At center stage are Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton, Ms. Rain in "Precious") and Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso, known to some as Det. Gil Puente from the TV series "Southland").  They meet cute in New York, just after Sabrina has promised God she will not give away her "cookie" to anyone other than her future husband.

Fast forward six months, to the wedding weekend, cookie still undelivered.  

It turns out Sabrina's parents (played by the elegant Angela Bassett and Brian Stokes Mitchell) live in a swanky Cape Cod compound, while Jason's widowed mother (Loretta Devine, Adele from "Gray's Anatomy") is a hefty, blunt-talking middle-class postal worker, determined to keep her hooks in her son and to make the newlyweds "jump the broom," a black wedding custom dating back to slavery days.

"Our ancestors weren't slaves," says Mrs. Watson as the two families first meet for dinner.  "They owned them."  


Before you know it, Mrs. Taylor is doing all she can to derail the wedding -- but three guesses as to how things will turn out.

As with any wedding movie, much of the fun is in the supporting cast and "Jumping the Broom" has more than its share.  There's Mike Epps as Mrs. Taylor's brother Willie Earl, Valarie Pettiford as Sabrina's aunt Geneva, Julie Bowen (of "Modern Family") as a high-strung wedding planner, Tasha Smith as  Mrs. Taylor's best friend and best of all, Gary Dourdan ("CSI") as a savvy, smitten chef.  

The attendees are all good looking, and some will get lucky before the final credits.

Director Salim Akil's bio says he worked for five years in a mortuary, but there's a lot of life at this wedding party -- even if the storyline (by Elizabeth Hunter and Arlene Gibbs) is predictable.  

"Jumping the Broom" is rated PG-13 for some mild innuendo.  I give it a B-Minus.

















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