Jonathan Wenk
Owen Gleiberman
May 19, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Jumping the Broom

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
101 minutes
Wide Release Date
05/06/11
performer
Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Laz Alonso
director
Salim Akil
distributor
TriStar Pictures
author
Elizabeth Hunter
genre
Comedy

We gave it an A-

Yes, there really is a way to make a boisterous, dramatic comedy about African-American life better than Tyler Perry does. In Jumping the Broom, two families — one wealthy, one working-class — join together for a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard, where they produce a stormy comic culture clash. The setup is formulaic, but director Salim Akil keeps the encounters flowing in a lively, organic way. Paula Patton, all sprightly charm, is the rich-girl bride from a family of divas (led by Angela Bassett as the haughty mother). And Laz Alonso is the poor-kid-turned-investment-banker groom with his own scruffy clan, notably his intrusive old-school mother, played in a great, dour, layered performance by Loretta Devine. You’ll laugh — a lot — but you’ll also shed tears of recognition at this funny, salty, strife-torn look at the agony and ecstasy of family. A?

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