Bringing Down the House

Bringing Down the House

3.8 11
Director: Adam Shankman

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


View All Available Formats & Editions

A man looking for a woman just like himself ends up with someone quite different in this farcical comedy. Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a lawyer who is having trouble getting his life back on track after his wife, Kate (Jean Smart), divorces him; he's also adjusting to his new status as a single father. Looking for companionship, Peter tries an internet dating… See more details below

  • Checkmark Build Your Blu-ray Collection  Shop Now


A man looking for a woman just like himself ends up with someone quite different in this farcical comedy. Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a lawyer who is having trouble getting his life back on track after his wife, Kate (Jean Smart), divorces him; he's also adjusting to his new status as a single father. Looking for companionship, Peter tries an internet dating site and virtually meets "lawyer-girl," an attractive and single fellow attorney. Peter makes a date with her, but the woman who arrives at his door turns out to be Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah), who not only isn't a lawyer, she turns out to be an escaped convict. Charlene is also a brash and brassy African-American, while Peter is perhaps the most tightly wound white guy in L.A. Charlene explains to Peter that she's strung him along because she's innocent of the crime for which she was convicted, and she needs a top-notch attorney to help prove her case. Peter isn't the least bit interested at first, but Charlene isn't the sort of woman to take "no" for an answer, and in time she wears him down and agrees to help. As Charlene moves into Peter's home, she helps him to loosen up and unleash his inner groove, which quite surprises Kate, and her down-to-earth advice comes in handy for Peter's son and daughter. But Charlene may end up going too far when Peter is asked to entertain Mrs. Arness (Joan Plowright), a wealthy woman looking for a new law firm. Bringing Down the House also features Eugene Levy as Howie, one of Peter's friends who takes a keen interest in Charlene, and Betty White as one of Peter's neighbors.

Read More

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.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Touchstone / Disney
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

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 - A Close-Up look at Eugene Levy With Tongue Firmly Implanted in Cheek; "Da" Commentary With Director Adam Shankman and Writer Jason Filardi

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

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >