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 won a billion dollar client. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The arguments and opinions of many a film fan and film critic persist about Steve Martin's current position in Hollywood. Many of his doubters believe he is past it, his films becoming horribly run of the mill, turgid and, ultimately, unfunny. The opinions are jointly contributing to the downfall of a once treasured idol. But some have stood by him, myself included, through the thick black cloud that have rested over the white-haired maestro during the last few years of his illustrious career. And with his latest return to our screens, he's back to prove once and for all, that the wild and crazy guy is here to stay.
The film sees Martin as lawyer Peter Sanderson, recent divorcee and top-dog at his law firm, who now at the age of god-only-knows, decides to ditch his now "whack" existence, and goes 'net surfing for the perfect woman. He apparently strikes gold with a sex, slim blonde laywer he meets in a chat-room. But he is taken by surprise when his date arrives in the sexy, big-boned, brassy form of escaped convict Charlene (Queen Latifah). Entering his life with a strut that would make Oprah blush, Charlene attempts to convince Peter to re-open her case and help her clear her name. That's not before turning his life upside-down, and posing as his kids' nanny tries to help Peter reclaim that what he so dearly yearns for, his family and wife. How, ahem, sweet. And with all the tomfoolery that ensues comes a girl-on-girl "bitch-slapping" session between Charlene and Peter's sister-in-law, a drunken night of dancing and sexual awakening (believe me boys, you've never seen it this way before), and gangster parties louder than Martin's legendary bonnet.
Standing up to its title, "House" really is a treat. Martin, although not in full-on "wild and crazy guy" mode, is on typically top, crowd-pleasing form. His portrayal as the life-searching, middle-aged, toffee-nosed twit is inspired, managing to mix the side-splittingly funny with the touching and poignant to brilliant effect, recalling such affecting form he showed in "Parenthood" and "Bowfinger". Latifah, meanwhile, shows that she has the potential for greatness. her larger-than-life performance is uproarious, bringing charisma and buoyancy to a largely one-dimensional character. She is also quiet the vixen too. The support from Eugene Levy is also first-class. Playing Peter's best mate, who is "straight trippin'" over Charlene, Levy steals practically every scene he appears in, with his dead-pan humour and flawless timing providing the some of the films most painfully funny scenes.
The overall quality of the film is pretty standard stuff. The plot is nothing we haven't seen a thousand times before. The writer and director, while both efficient, don't really add anything fresh and exciting to the buddy comedy genre here. That said, when the films funny, it's an absolute hoot, with the cast stealing the show with marvellous chemistry, and giving us three of best comedic turns you're likely to see all year. Delightful **** (out of FIVE)
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