Spike Lee would have none of this nonsense. In the white-washed Breakin’ All the Rules, Jamie Foxx is a privileged ad guy at Spoils book agency whose model girlfriend, Helen (Bianca Lawson, summoning not-so-fond memories of Camille from America’s Next Top Model), dumps him shortly before his chicken-shit boss, Philip (an especially Porky Pigged Peter MacNicol), asks him to downsize his company for him. Not wanting to ax his fellow colleagues, Quincy (Foxx) quits his job and hangs out at home with his would-be alcoholic pet pug until he writes the bestselling Breakup Handbook. All this and more in less than 15 minutes! When Quincy’s cousin Evan (Morris Chestnut) uses him to break up with his girlfriend Nicky (Gabrielle Union), sparks fly between the two and a series of contrived mishaps are set into cloying motion. If Breakin’ All the Rules weren’t so clueless and opportunistic, it’d be easy to call it a deliberate act of reverse racism: Every black person in the film is an elitist (Eames-era furniture in the house; multi-culti bars, dance clubs, and Heather Headley concerts at night) and the whites are either nuts, crazy, or seriously deranged. Writer-director Daniel Taplitz makes absolutely no mention of race and class throughout the film, and as such you get the idea this material was intended for a white cast (you know, with the African-Americans playing all the funny secretaries and other kooky supporting players) but pitched differently to an urban-friendly Screen Gems. Predicated on an endless (and I do mean endless) string of misunderstandings, Breakin’ All the Rules is rom-com warfare so reductive as to suggest it was written during a Three’s Company marathon. One mitigating factor: The chemistry between Foxx and Union is so insatiable you can almost block out the surrounding white noise.
- Daniel Taplitz
- Daniel Taplitz
- Jamie Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Peter MacNicol, Jennifer Esposito, Bianca Lawson, Jill Ritchie, Samantha Nagel, Grace Chan, Heather Headly, Patrick Cranshaw, Robert J. Stephenson
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