Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House (2003)

Not Quite Bringing Down a Career

Having been chatting online for a while, divorced tax attorney Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is looking forwards to finally meeting Charlene (Queen Latifah) face to face. But when this loud woman shows up on his door who has done a bunk from prison and wants Peter's help in clearing her name the extremely reserved Peter wants nothing to do with her. Charlene thinks other wise and forces Peter in to helping her as his work colleague Howie (Eugene Levy) falls for the larger than life Charlene. But maybe in the end it will be Peter who needs Charlene's help just as much as she needs his.

Let me tell you what the funniest thing about "Bringing Down the House" is, it is a small scene which sees Eugene Levy with cornrows. That scene has nothing really to do with the movie and comes at the end of "Bringing Down the House" but it is the best the movie gets. Now in fairness "Bringing Down the House" is not a terrible comedy, there are some funny scenes including one which sees Joan Plowright as the well to do Virginia Arness dancing on a bar after getting high but for the most it is a forgettable comedy especially when you consider those involved.

Queen Latifah in Bringing Down the House (2003)

That is in many ways the problem with "Bringing Down the House" because on one hand you have Steve Martin the "wild and crazy guy" playing it extremely safe with his funniest scene seeing him doing an Eminem. And then you have Queen Latifah giving it large, loud and lovable with that sassiness which usually makes you sit up and pay attention yet the whole thing feels safe. Basically the comedy vibe in the movie feels like it is on autopilot and everyone was just doing what was needed rather than believing in the comedy and trying to make it memorably funny. It actually says something about the movie when supporting performances from Eugene Levy and Joan Plowright end up being more memorable than those of the stars.

What this all boils down to is that "Bringing Down the House" is okay, it will make you smile once in a while and won't leave you feeling too disappointed when it is over. But it isn't a great comedy and certainly neither a memorable Steve Martin nor Queen Latifah movie.