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Bringing Down the House (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy  |  7 March 2003 (USA)
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 28,562 users   Metascore: 39/100
Reviews: 233 user | 119 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In the Houze  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

On the night of her party that goes wrong, Sarah's hair changes three times in a short amount of time. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Kline: We have to brush your hair differently. You look like a fag.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to residents of McCadden Place. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't Nobody
(1983)
Written by Hawk Wolinski (as David J. Woliniski)
Produced by Rick Dutch Cousin
Performed by Kelly Price
Courtesy of Def Jam/Def Soul Records
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User Reviews

 
As offensive and misguided as a slapstick version of "Roots"
18 March 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Is there an American Idol for screenwriters? I'm not up on my "reality" TV shows, but I have been noticing film after film written by some guy or girl who has no other movie to his or her credit. It's not that I'm against bringing new talent into Hollywood, but so far the "talent" part of the "new" equation hasn't happened.

Jason Filardi, the writer of Bringing Down the House, and the latest in a screenwriting sea of freshman ineptitude, has created one of the most laughably bad comedies this side of The Sweetest Thing; and none of the juvenile or racist jokes he throws in can save it. Filardi has managed to create a sort of bizarro world that would stink of racism as far back as the 1960s.

In Bringing Down the House, Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) works at a law firm that appears to be segregated, attends a country club so uppity that his intrusive African American "friend," Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah) has to pretend that she's a nanny just to avoid trouble, and has a client who is the heiress to her husband's large fortune, who is such a bigot that she starts belting out an odious plantation song at the dinner table where she's being waited on by Charlene, who's still pretending to be a nanny and maid. Last, but definitely not least, is Sanderson's nosy neighbor, Mrs. Kline (Betty White). The woman is so prejudice that Sanderson, obviously not one willing or able to stand up for himself, hides Charlene when he sees Kline, to avoid any confrontation with his misguided neighbor. As they sneak the concealed Charlene into Sanderson's home, Mrs. Kline tells Sanderson that she thought she "heard negro," and he denies this by claiming that there's, "no negro here."

Are you laughing yet?

The fact that Queen Latifah would even act in this picture, much less act as one of its executive producers, boggles the mind. Maybe next she'll play Aunt Jemima in a series of ads for maple syrup. And how low will the once great Steve Martin go to save his dying career? If this racist little "comedy" makes a splash, maybe next we'll see him as a white businessman in a comedy musical version of Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored. Eugene Levy has only a small part as Sanderson's partner in law, but, as he does with most films that he's featured in, manages to steal the show. Unfortunately, the only reason he steals this one is by delivering his stereotypical lines better than the rest of the cast. Maybe as a follow-up to this flick, he and Martin can put on some blackface and appear in an updated version of Amos 'n' Andy.

Intentional, or not, Bringing Down the House is a racist movie. By the time it's all over, this film borders on being as offensive and misguided as a slapstick version of Roots.


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

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