It's significant that Jumping the Broom
and Tyler Perry's African-American family romp Madea's Big Happy Family
came to occupy entertainment and cultural space at the same time. They're both addressed to similar themes of class and some specific matters of comic or deeply serious family dysfunction through an underlying core of spiritual messaging. Jumping the Broom
manages a more polished and broadly entertaining view as it follows the princess-and-commoner wedding weekend of Jason and Sabrina on her wealthy family's fantastical Martha's Vineyard estate. Jason comes from blue-collar Brooklyn, but has made it big on Wall Street and is a perfect catch as far as Sabrina is concerned, particularly since she's made a vow to God to stop giving away her "cookies" after a series of demoralising hook-ups. After just five months Jason and Sabrina become engaged, and rushed arrangements supervised by Sabrina's imperious mom (a steely Angela Bassett) are being made on the Vineyard. Jason's working-class family crew is wrangled by his mom (Loretta Devine, who also plays a mom in the Madea
movie), a hot-tempered matriarch who won't 'llow no foolishness from anybody, especially her son and his snooty in-laws-to-be. There's so much raucous head-butting activity and interaction among all the friends, cousins, uncles, sisters, spouses, chefs, maids, wedding planners and guests that the movie almost loses its way. Everyone has a back story and business that involve everything from romantic encounters and family dynamics to ethnic stereotypes and profound, secret shames. Fortunately all the elements come around and the busy bickering recedes into resolution as the wedding comes off with plenty of spiritual uplift. The very large cast (all those crazy stories!) is also very good in fulfilling roles that are distinctive and well drawn. In addition to Bassett and Devine, Mike Epps, Tasha Smith, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Gary Dourdan, Romeo and Julie Bowen as the clueless white planner create an ensemble that deftly entertains against some classy backdrops and lots of laughs. Mega-church pastor and popular self-help author T.D. Jakes is one of the movie's producers, and he has a small but effective role that serves to define the spiritual and moralistic backbone of the movie. Like Tyler Perry's message, it's nothing but traditionalism and common sense, and in Jumping the Broom
it's no impediment to the overall charm. --Ted Fry
When a marriage brings together the bride's upper-crust relatives with the groom's downtown family not even love can conquer all of the difficulties in this romantic comedy.