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Bringing Down the House (2003)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 7 March 2003 (USA)
When a lonely guy meets a woman on the internet who happens to be in prison, she breaks out to get him to prove her innocence, and proceeds to wreak havoc on his middle-class life.

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4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Widow
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Ed Tobias
Aengus James ...
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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 won a billion dollar client. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bring it. March 7. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

7 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In the Houze  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$31,101,026 (USA) (9 March 2003)

Gross:

$132,716,677 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In one of Steve Martin's early comedy skits, he can't pronounce the word "abominable". Mrs. Arness, near the end when she is "stoned", struggles in a similar way to say the word "abominably" See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Charlene Morton: [to Peter] You lock me out, no money, no place to go, a sister got to get her cheese on.
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to residents of McCadden Place. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Studio C: Episode #4.9 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Beat Boyz
Written and Performed by Tommie 'Bishop' McLaughlin (as Bishop)
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User Reviews

the stars steal the show
10 May 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews



`Bringing Down the House' is the latest variation on that old comic chestnut in which a wisecracking, free-spirit type from `the lower social orders' invades the life of an uptight stuffed-shirt type - not only getting him to loosen up that collar and shed his inhibitions but also showing him a thing or two about what really matters in life. This is, basically, a primer for a Culture Clash Comedy 101 course, with a couple of veteran comic professors on hand to teach us all how it's done.

In this case, Steve Martin plays the uptight lawyer who is so obsessed with his career that he has already lost his wife over the issue and appears on the road to alienating his children as well. When Peter meets what he believes is a potential love interest in an internet chat room, he figures his life just might be turning around for the better. Peter is all set for a romantic evening – champagne, dim lights, `A Man and a Woman' playing softly in the background – when, at his door, who should appear but that Big Bad Mama, Queen Latifah, as Charlene Morton, an ex-convict who wants Peter to help her expunge from her record the crime she swears she did not commit. Peter is at first reluctant to accept this strange woman into his house and life, but Charlene is nothing if not persistent and she manages to horn her way in anyway.

The Jason Filardi screenplay pretty much plays it all by rote. We know, despite their tremendous differences in culture, background and personality, that these two comic titans will end up as great pals by the story's end. Nothing about `Bringing Down the House' surprises us, yet there is a certain amount of comfort to be derived from familiarity and predictability. It's an old formula but one that works fairly well here, thanks, primarily, to the assured, high-energy performances of Martin and Latifah in the starring roles. These two comic masters achieve a real chemistry working together, enough to compensate for the broad stereotyping that permeates the film. Filardi does achieve some moments of genuine hilarity by mixing slapstick and social satire in roughly equal measure. The satire isn't on a very high level of sophistication but it is good enough for a mass audience venture such as this one.

Director Adam Shankman is also blessed with a strong supporting cast that includes Eugene Levy as a nerdish - but `freaky' - business associate obsessed with wild black women like Charlene; Joan Plowright as a snooty, eccentric matron whose account Peter is determined to win for his firm; and Bette White as Peter's bigoted next door neighbor who is eyeing askance all the strange goings-on at the lawyer's house.

`Bringing Down the House' is at its best when it simply lets itself go, forgets about the plot, and allows its performers to dazzle us with their sheer likeability, i.e., Martin and Latifah dancing up a storm at an L.A. bistro, Martin breaking out into a spontaneous break dance routine while infiltrating an all-black nightclub. It is at its worst in the final scenes when the heavy-handed plot mechanics threaten to torpedo the whole project. Luckily, we have Martin and Latifah to help keep the thing afloat. The vehicle itself may creak at times, but the stars never do.


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