Bringing Down the House

Bringing Down the House

3.8 11
Director: Adam Shankman

Cast: Adam Shankman, Steve Martin, Queen Latifah, Eugene Levy


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Adam Shankman's comedy Bringing Down the House comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. An English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1, and a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Stereo. There are no subtitles, but the English soundtrack is closed-captioned.See more details below


Adam Shankman's comedy Bringing Down the House comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. An English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1, and a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Stereo. There are no subtitles, but the English soundtrack is closed-captioned. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by Shankman and screenwriter Jason Filardi. While short on any real insight into the film, the commentary makes it obvious that the pair had a fabulous time making the film and they do their best to communicate that feeling. A making-of featurette is paint-by-numbers. There is a short and very funny featurette on how Eugene Levy brought his knowledge of hip-hop culture to the film. A music video from Queen Latifah, deleted scenes, and a gag reel round out this strong package from Disney/Buena Vista.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This unabashedly raucous comedy represents a triumphant return to form for Steve Martin, whose recent film work has been uneven at best. He's in fine fettle here as a lonely divorcee shocked to learn that he’s been conducting an Internet romance with an African-American ex-convict (Queen Latifah) trying to prove her innocence. When Latifah unexpectedly shows up on Martin’s doorstep, the upper-middle-class lawyer ties himself in knots trying to conceal her true identity from his kids, clients, and -- above all -- his still-devoted ex-wife (Jean Smart). The plot becomes almost absurdly complicated (and progressively less credible), but that doesn’t matter a bit: Martin, Latifah, and the rest of the cast keep this House tidy by virtue of their enthusiastic trouping. The erstwhile "wild and crazy guy" reminds us once again what a facile performer he is; very few comic actors handle verbal and visual comedy equally well, but Martin certainly belongs to that select fraternity. Latifah, whose work in this film and Chicago is nothing short of revelatory, more than holds her own in scenes with her impressively talented costar. The supporting players also are uniformly excellent, the standouts being Eugene Levy (as one of Martin’s coworkers), Missi Pyle (as Smart’s bitchy sister), and Joan Plowright (as the dotty dowager whose business Martin hopes to secure). Director Adam Shankman (The Wedding Planner) is a former choreographer, and it shows: He whisks his characters through their scenes with deceptive simplicity, executing gags with perfect timing and maintaining a rapid pace. His camera doesn’t move ostentatiously, and it always captures action from the most advantageous angles. Bringing Down the House is an expertly directed movie, but it’s the cast that makes it so gloriously funny -- even when it gets almost too silly for words. It marks a great comedic comeback for Martin and represents a milestone in Latifah’s burgeoning screen career.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Pulling off a comedy about race relations is difficult. In order for it to work, everyone's assumptions and stereotypes must be skewered. Bringing Down the House only supplies half the equation. Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) makes false assumptions about what Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah) thinks, knows, and is. The problem is that Charlene does not make these same stereotypical assumptions about Peter. Since only Peter is required to change, the film loses half of its potential comedy right away. When the film attempts to play with stereotypes the laughter almost always comes at the expense of Martin's character. When Charlene adopts a "proper" speaking voice the audience laughs at Peter's inability to understand why she doesn't always speak that way. When Peter dresses up like a young Black man and goes to a club, the audience is encouraged to laugh at how stupid he looks precisely because he seems so uncomfortable. Only in Eugene Levy, as the very white friend of Peter who is madly in love Charlene, does the film find the perfect balance. He speaks in urban slang with a very "white" voice, but because he does so with a natural ease the audience does not laugh at him. The laughter when he is onscreen comes from the viewer's facing their own prejudices because they are unable to integrate the man's actions with his appearance. Levy and Latifah make much of the material more palatable than it might have been otherwise, but Bringing Down the House falls well short of being as funny or as smart as it should have been.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Deleted scenes; Gag reel; "Breaking Down Bringing Down the House" behind-the-scenes featurette; Queen Latifah music video "Better Than the Rest"; "The Godfather of Hop" featurette; "Da' Commentary" with director Adam Shankman and writer Jason Filardi; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound; Widescreen (2.35:1), enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions; French-language track

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Steve Martin Peter Sanderson
Queen Latifah Charlene Morton
Eugene Levy Howie Rosenthal
Joan Plowright Mrs. Arness
Jean Smart Kate
Missi Pyle Ashley
Kimberly J. Brown Sarah Sanderson
Steve Harris Widow
Angus T. Jones Georgey Sanderson
Michael Rosenbaum Todd Gendler
Betty White Mrs. Kline
Michael Ensign Daniel Barnes
Matt Lutz Aaron Blair
Victor Webster Glen
Alonzo Bodden Bear
Sundy Carter Flygirl
Aengus James Mike
Tracey Cherelle Jones Sofia

Technical Credits
Adam Shankman Director
Ashok Amritraj Producer
Anne Fletcher Choreography
Jane Bartelme Executive Producer
Cookie Carosella Associate Producer
Pamela Withers Chilton Costumes/Costume Designer
Linda de Scenna Production Designer
Nancy Deren Set Decoration/Design
Jason Filardi Screenwriter
Jerry Greenberg Editor
David Hoberman Producer
Todd Lieberman Co-producer
Julio Macat Cinematographer
David MacMillan Sound/Sound Designer
Ric Mcelvin Set Decoration/Design
Michael McQuarn Musical Direction/Supervision
Jim Nedza Art Director
Queen Latifah Executive Producer
Richard Romig Set Decoration/Design
Lalo Schifrin Score Composer
Daniel Silverberg Asst. Director
Victoria Thomas Casting

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits/Legaleagle & Lawyer Girl [9:43]
2. A Hot Date [9:19]
3. The Morning After [9:32]
4. The New Nanny [11:17]
5. Country Club Catfight [5:07]
6. Dance Lesson [8:37]
7. Love Lessons [11:34]
8. Happy Memories [1:17]
9. Twisted Up in the Game [10:00]
10. Hostage Situation [4:18]
11. Down Low [2:15]
12. Some Kind of Freaky/End Credits [12:41]

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