Bringing Down the House (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy  |  7 March 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 29,066 users   Metascore: 39/100
Reviews: 233 user | 119 critic | 31 from

When a lonely guy meets a woman on the internet who happens to be in prison, she breaks out to be with him, and proceeds to wreak havoc on his middle-class life.



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4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Tobias
Aengus James ...
Widow's Bodyguard
Widow's Bodyguard


Peter Sanderson is a divorced, straight-laced, uptight attorney who still loves his ex-wife and can't figure out what he did wrong to make her leave him. However, Peter's trying to move on, and he's smitten with a brainy, bombshell barrister he's been chatting with online. However, when she comes to his house for their first face-to-face, she isn't refined, isn't Ivy League, and isn't even a lawyer. Instead, it's Charlene, a prison escapee who's proclaiming her innocence and wants Peter to help her clear her name. But Peter wants nothing to do with her, prompting the loud and shocking Charlene to turn Peter's perfectly ordered life upside down, jeopardizing his effort to get back with his wife and woo a billion dollar client. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Everything he needed to know about life, she learned in prison. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, sexual humor and drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In the Houze  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$31,101,026 (USA) (7 March 2003)


$884,848 (South Africa) (12 September 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Producers wanted the slang that was spoken in the movie to be current and relevant to the time period in which the movie was released. This proved to be difficult as words take on different meaning to become Ebonics almost everyday. (Whatever words they used during filming might not have been in circulation by the time the film was released.) In order to play it safe, some of the Ebonics spoken in the movie was made up by the actors on the spot. See more »


The shoulder space between Peter and Howie when Peter introduces Howie to Mrs. Arness at the country club. See more »


Mrs. Kline: Those latin people that were skulking around here earlier...
Peter Sanderson: Oh, they were looking at that house down the street.
Mrs. Kline: Casing it?
Peter Sanderson: No, no, they were looking to buy.
Mrs. Kline: Oh, please. If those people are on this block and not holding a leaf blower...
Peter Sanderson: We'll talk more about this later, Mrs. Kline!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to residents of McCadden Place. See more »


References Mandingo (1975) See more »


Rock Star
Written by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo
Performed by N.E.R.D.
Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
Under license from EMI Film & TV Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Absolutely Horrible
27 May 2003 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

Sorry that I'm even commenting. Plunked down the money to see this film with my fiancee, and we both walked out of the movie about 45 minutes into it. The premise was highly suspect, but we were willing to suspend our disbelief long enough to let it work. Unfortunately, it didn't, and it didn't even come close.

Queen Latifah's character was simply obnoxious, and the situations that the writer put forth just were too unbelievable to work as a story. To make matters worse, in 45 minutes of story, there were no redeeming qualities to either of the main characters, save for Steve Martin's funny trick to win over a client by bribing a waiter. The few enjoyable moments in the film were Eugene Levy's, and those were too rehashed and too inconsequential to be worth sticking around for.

Voted 1 out of 10, and hope not to see anything this bad again.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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RACIST butterfinger
my favourite line, how about you? Kindella
He shudda ended up with Charlene because... denx
Racial? Why typecast? laurinK
Why did Steve Martin do this film? niquems
Prison Chat Rooms Mogley
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