Why Tyler Perry Would Have Improved Jumping The Broom

I got nothing.

That title in and of itself might have just made your head explode but hear me out.

I assume that everybody who is going to see Jumping The Broom has already seen it. We’re not exactly Avatar type movie-goers for Black films so I feel that’s a safe statement. Right? Shamon.

Jumping The Broom is an alright movie. I wasn’t really moved one way or another, but like apple sauce, Gabrielle Union, and quesadillas, I’m glad it exists. The whole premise was telegraphed from the beginning: Two ninjas from opposite sides of the track meet in fairytale way, fall in love, get engaged to be married…all within a matter of five months. Hood family vs bougie family…shenanigans ensue. Paula Patton is a banger so even if she’s the doofiest woman in America she’s fun to look at at all times. Laz Alonzo does a good enough job. Speaking of Laz, have you seen his IMDB page? Does anybody else have more TV and film credits that read like pr0n than he does? Angela Basset and Loretta Devine do Angela Basset and Loretta Devine things which is always a win.

Two things about those two women: 1) if my wife looks like Angela Bassett at 50, I promise to go to church once a year and only complain when absolutely necessary; 2) when and if my life story ever makes it to the silver screen, and she’s still alive, I want Loretta Devine to play my momma. Not because she reminds me of my mother, actually quite the opposite, but she just has “somebody’s mama” down pat. And I like down pat. It reminds me of up and loose. Which may or may not be the name of my favorite stripper from The Trill Spot.

Like I said the movie was alright but had some unnecessary and pretty significantly unaddressed plot twists that either weren’t resolved or resolved via copouts just to end the movie, but nowhere near the Straight Outta Brooklyn levels of movie ending pure sucktitude.

So here’s my problem with this movie, it seems like they made every attempt to NOT be a Tyler Perry movie despite attempting to make a Tyler Perry movie. I know its a TD Jakes special which means that it probably seems like it should be better than it is, kind of like the entire neo-soul genre. So maybe I’m levying expectations where none should exist anyway. Anybody who’s seen Not Easily Broken or Woman Thou Art Loosed knows what I mean. Except, those weren’t funny movies and didn’t have premises intended to be humorous.

Jumping The Broom does, however. So bringing a sort of pseudo-serious but humorous approach to a paint-by-the-numbers plot doesn’t necessarily work so well. If it’s not that funny, you are forced to pay attention to the, ya know, plot, which has more holes than Magic City. Which is why I think Tyler Perry would have made this movie more entertaining.

Nobody glosses over plot holes better or with as much reckless abandon as Tyler Perry. It’s almost like TP feels like rounding out story arcs is a completely unnecessary facet of filmmaking. Forget the story, let’s create a message.

Let me say this, I’m not tearing down this movie or trying to say that Salim Akil didn’t know what he was doing or didn’t do a good job. He did and lots of people love it. Great. But if you’re going to make a Tyler Perry movie you have to follow the protocol. Namely, you’ve got to play to your stereotypes. You have Mike Epps and DeRay Davis, two funny when unleashed comedians. They were completely constrained by the script, probably in attempts to not be a Tyler Perry movie…except you just limited the comedic elements of the movie which are needed in a family drama meets comedy movie. They were there to provide comic relief and the customary funny-man-turned-spiritual-advisor roles but they were just kind of blah.

Which is kind of my point if you’re going to cast stereotypes, let the stereoypes live. I’m almost convinced Tyler Perry just writes the most stereotypical thing he can for each character, casts folks then says, say whatever comes natural as long as its as stereotypical as possible…then we’ll make millions. And he does. And do you know why? Because those people exist. They’re in my family. They’re in your family. All of the conversations that happen in TP movies actually happen. In Jumping The Broom, it seemed like they were on the brink of going “there” but never quite made it because if they did go “there”, then it would be a Tyler Perry film and perhaps the message would get lost. Except wait, this movie didn’t have one unlike all Tyler Perry flicks. So they’d be free to just make a funny as all hell movie without the religious and social consciousness angle being lobbed around like a crack pipe in DC.

I honestly think if Tyler Perry had gotten ahold of this script and wrote some of the conversations, the comedy would have been taken to a higher level and thus the movie would have been more entertaining in the way it was intended. You want family drama, you have  to unleash the dragon. Sisqo.  I realize that nearly all Black filmmakers in Hollywood now get stuck with the TP vs non-TP label and I’ll bet that most filmmakers probably go out of their way to avoid the pitfalls of making a film like that. But Perry stays winning for a reason. I’m not even speaking on his merits (which I’ve come around on) or the quality of the movies (which I’ve also stopped arguing about). The dude makes entertaining movies and that’s why I go to the movies, to be entertained. So what that none of is even close to making any sense. I also love Forrest Gump. And Skittles.

Did you see Jumping The Broom? If so, what did you think? Would Tyler Perry have improved it? Hell, is it possible for the words Tyler Perry and improvement to exist together? Or was it just fine as it was and you love greatness?

That’s my piece. And my peace. Peace.


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