Sweeping Through the Rom-Com Clichés

Jumping the Broom plays it by the numbers in this "rich girl meets working-class guy" romance. But lots of sins can be forgiven in a movie that includes Angela Bassett and Mike Epps. Cue the laughs.

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As the young lovebirds, Alonso and Patton have a sweet and believable chemistry, even though one can't help wishing that Patton would tone things down by one or six notches. But this movie belongs to the ensemble cast, who are let loose to do their thing. The laughs come quick and easy; Epps is a one-man Greek chorus ad-libbing on the follies of others.

And then there are the movie's two matrons. Facing off against each other, Bassett and Devine are formidable opponents. The insults, both passive-aggressive and aggressive-aggressive, fly. Devine, in particular, turns in a bravura comedic performance as the widowed mother who can't stand to see a young hussy make off with her man -- er, her son.

But both women are at their best in scenes where no words are spoken, like when Bassett, after receiving devastating news, shows the vulnerable side of the lady who lunches. And I'm still thinking about Devine silently flipping through a photo album, smiling and crying, while Al Green wails in the background. For that scene alone, I'm willing to forgive a bushel of rom-com clichés.

Teresa Wiltz is senior editor of The Root.

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