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Breakin' All the Rules
2004 - PG-13 - 88 Mins.
Director: Daniel Taplitz
Producer: Paddy Cullen, Lisa Tornell
Written By: Daniel Taplitz
Starring: Jaime Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Bianca Lawson
Review by: Joe Rickey
   

What do you think of my hair? Is it too pointy?
Jaime Foxx stars as a man who writes a novel on how men should break up with their squeeze in the boring ‘Breakin’ All the Rules.’ The film is basically a male-oriented version of ‘How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days,’ yet isn’t quite as bad as that romantic comedy because, well, that film was just plain terrible while this one is just sort of dull with Jaime Foxx spending much of his time mugging shamelessly for the camera or looking just as bored as the audience during other stretches. He likely has a much better chance at success with the early August release titled ‘Collateral,’ starring “guaranteed hit” himself Tom Cruise. The film may find some sort of an audience looking for a romantic film during the summer months when the multiplex is dominated by big budget action epics and teen comedies.

Gabrielle Union has been hailed as a talented new entry into the acting ranks ever since her breakthrough role in the cheerleading film ‘Bring It On, in which she starred with Kirsten Dunst. She got the role because she had been a cheerleader during high school and therefore had the necessary skill and it was believed that she would also be able to have enough charisma to become a solid actor. Her stock continued to rise as she costarred in the summer blockbuster ‘Bad Boy II’ along with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. She was given a surprisingly lengthy role in that film, but in ‘Breakin’ All the Rules’ she is nothing more than window dressing as Jaime Foxx is given most of the material and asked to carry the film on his shoulders.

That fact is unfortunate because Foxx is rather lackluster in the role, as he seems to have transformed from a comedic performer to a more serious-minded actor over the years as his attempts at comedies recently (Bait and this film) are rather lame and he shows much more promise when it comes to dramatic roles such as his much praised performance in ‘Ali.’ In ‘Rules’ he seems to be slumming it as the only sign of effort is his almost relentless mugging to the camera as he goes through the motions of a plot that relies too often on puerile jokes and slapstick gags that have Foxx getting hit in the head with various objects more often than is necessary.

A meandering narrative that dips in such tired clichés as mistaken identities, with little in the way of positive results, doesn’t help the film. The film is too often filled with surprisingly vapid, empty attempts at comedy and romance that the few times the film does shine the viewer is less likely to notice because of the poor quality of the majority of the production overshadowing.

‘Breakin’ All the Rules’ is far too often a leaden and unconvincing romantic comedy with a lackluster lead performance by Jaime Foxx; effectively canceling out the solid work by Gabrielle Union and the few moments when the film shows some ingenuity.

 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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