The first weekend in May, at what is now recognized as the beginning of the summer movie season, two wedding themed movies enter the box-office fray, and Jumping the Broom, despite not being based on a best-selling novel, appears to be the more ambitious of the two.
Veteran television director Salim Akil helms this tricky marriage of subjects and styles with verve and requisite sass, thanks in large part to a pair of seasoned matriarchs, Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine, who are able to focus our attention in the midst of what could have otherwise been a beautiful maelstrom.
Upscale Sabrina (Paula Patton) literally bumps into upwardly striving Jason (Laz Alonso) and the resulting whirlwind lands them on her family’s Hampton compound a week before their wedding with complications arriving like a too-perfect storm. Class lines form the first wave of assault, but additional subplots and romantic entanglements come from all sides, and then there’s the morality of it all, courtesy of Reverend TD Jakes, that breezes through (likely blowing mainstream audiences off-course).
The main problem here is that there are enough story lines and characters for a full season of a soapy drama (with no time for a hiatus), which is why Bassett and Devine become so important; without their grounding influence, this ceremonial affair among “the bold, the black and the beautiful” would never hold our attention. These two heavy hitters are the first real tent poles of the summer season. Grade: C-plus
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