Bringing Down the House (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy  |  7 March 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 29,043 users   Metascore: 39/100
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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?


Steve Martin, Angus T. Jones, and Missi Pyle are from Texas. Queen Latifah is from New Jersey, Eugene Levy is from Canada, Jean Smart is from Washington, Kimberley J. Brown is from Maryland, and Joan Plowright is from England. See more »


Near the end when the car pulls up to the house, there is a line of parking meters with a fire hydrant sitting right in between two of them with no extra space. See more »


Charlene Morton: I kicked it off the heezy and bounced... fo' real, tho!
Peter Sanderson: What did you just say?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to residents of McCadden Place. See more »


Referenced in The Cleveland Show: Here Comes the Bribe (2013) See more »


Move Somethin'
Written by Obi Nwobosi, Ainz Prasad and Mr. Cheeks (as Terrence Kelly)
Performed by Mr. Cheeks
Courtesy of Universal Records
See more »

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User Reviews

The Best Cat Fight Scene Since Kill Bill!
10 October 2006 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

My mom has been begging for me to watch Bringing Down the House, especially since I've been getting more into Steve Martin. He brought me nothing but laughter with Bowfinger, Little Shop of Horrors, and now Bringing Down the House. He and Queen Latifa make such a great comedic duo, this movie was in no way over the top or stereotypical, at least of the sense where I think you couldn't find it offensive. For those who did find it offensive, I think you probably watched this movie in a serious mood, because how could you not laugh?

Steve Martin plays Peter Sanderson, a straight up-tight business man who won't get his priorities right with his family and work, he expects to meet a beautiful, intelligent, and blond white lawyer he met off the internet, but instead gets Charlene, a tough soul sister who has just escaped prison and wants Peter to get her name cleared. She claims she is innocent and she won't leave Peter alone until he helps out, through the madness of trying to play Peter off as a business man and trying to get his family back, Charlene teaches him a thing or two along with him teaching her as well.

There are just some hilarious scenes, my favorite I think was the cat fight scene between Charlene and Peter's ex sister in-law. That was just hilarious! I also loved Steve getting accepted at a hard core gangsta's club and the last scene of Charlene and her new boyfriend, Howie. Steve and Queen were so cool together and I would highly recommend this film!


14 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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He shudda ended up with Charlene because... denx
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