There’s no better feeling than jetting across Bosnian airspace with the Obsidian Dongle safe in hand… that is until an incoming heatseeker blows us out of the sky. We are gravely injured, but even worse the Dongle was lost on impact. Egad! We attempt to evade capture by the insurgent forces, but no amount of delicious Coca-Cola can save us. Brought in front of the warlord responsible for the tragic end to our backpacking trip, we are astonished to find that not only is the warlord a beautiful lady, but also in possession of the Dongle! We attempt to woo her with our twin charms and sensual dance routines, but she has no need for our chiseled abs, no matter how much grease we apply. Oh how our abs gleam, our pectoral muscles perfectly sculpted. The setting sun glances off them creating an effect that no woman could possibly resist. And yet she does. For she needs money for her warlording and has no time for rock-hard muscles. She requests $10 billion dollars in exchange for the Dongle. There is only one thing to do: boot up BMT Productions and let’s get a-making movies. First up we need to call our lawyer, because this production company ain’t LLCing itself and we gotta protect ourselves in case we accidentally make a super racist movie. That’s right! We’re watching Bringing Down the House. Produced by Ashok Amritraj (producer of Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li), this Steve Martin-Queen Latifah vehicle is chock full of stereotypes (hilarious!). Perfect for our comedy entry in the Mind of a Madman cycle. Let’s go!
Bringing Down the House (2003) – BMeTric: 43.0
(An extremely interesting graph. I have a guess: from its release to 2015 or so people watched this and were like “Goo! That’s racist!”. Now, you might wonder whether that has changed more recently. Possibly. But it is also possible that it is just kind of regressing back to the average for a “not very funny comedy” which is high 5s I would guess. Who knows.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Martin is wasted in this crude collection of racial and sexual comic stereotypes as an uptight WASP tax attorney whose Internet chat-room mate turns out to be a black convict (Latifah) who wants him to clear her name. Naturally she loosens him up while straightening out his kids and helping him land a big deal at work. Strictly a routine big-screen sitcom, unless you find the prospect of Martin talking jive and bustin’ a groove in hip-hop garb to be the height of hilarity.
(Oooof, Leonard pulled no punches there. I do not find that the peak of comedy, so this film is going to be terrible. I do like the term “big-screen sitcom”. You can even imagine it as a sitcom. The white WASPy family takes in a brash black ex-con who just whips them into shape. Gross.)
(Oh … oh no. Eugene Levy in an over the top jungle fever (is that term racist? I can’t find any definitive answer online concerning this … just pretend I’m referring to the Spike Lee movie if it is. It feels like it is though.), Steve Martin dancing, Steve Martin dressing up (now that’s racist), more Steve Martin dancing, ebonics, Steve Martin trying to get Queen Latifah to leave his country club because his country club is full of racists who are also his friends and … well, you can kind of see why that is problematic on its face! Jeez Louise … just, … I cannot wait.)
Directors – Adam Shankman – (Known For: Hairspray; Rock of Ages; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; Bedtime Stories; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; The Pacifier; Bringing Down the House; Notes: Judge on So You Think You Can Dance for many years and long time choreographer. Looks like he’s tapped as the director for the What Men Want, the What Women Want follow up that the world has been clamoring for.)
Writers – Jason Filardi (written by) – (Known For: 17 Again; Drum; BMT: Bringing Down the House; Notes: Has a new film Status Update that wasn’t released to theaters but is available for all those Filardi-heads out there. Still doing his thing.)
Actors – Steve Martin – (Known For: The Prince of Egypt; Little Shop of Horrors; Father of the Bride; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; It’s Complicated; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; ¡Three Amigos!; Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; Parenthood; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Baby Mama; Shopgirl; The Jerk; Bowfinger; Home; Roxanne; Father of the Bride Part II; The Big Year; The Muppet Movie; Leap of Faith; Future BMT: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; The Pink Panther; The Pink Panther 2; The Out-of-Towners; Mixed Nuts; Sgt. Bilko; Christmas with the Coopers; Novocaine; HouseSitter; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Bringing Down the House; Cheaper by the Dozen; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for The Pink Panther 2 in 2010; Notes: World famous actor and musician. He technically is only a Tony Award away from an EGOT as he got an honorary Oscar, won an Emmy for the Smothers Brothers show, and won five Grammy’s for comedy and bluegrass music. He even got a Tony nomination for Bright Star in 2016 but lost.)
Queen Latifah – (Known For: Girls Trip; Hairspray; Chicago; 22 Jump Street; Miracles from Heaven; The Secret Life of Bees; Stranger Than Fiction; Juice; Set It Off; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Bringing Out the Dead; Jungle Fever; Hoodlum; Just Wright; Last Holiday; Brown Sugar; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; My Life; Living Out Loud; Future BMT: Scary Movie 3; Ice Age: Collision Course; Beauty Shop; The Cookout; The Perfect Holiday; House Party 2; Mad Money; What Happens in Vegas; Sphere; Joyful Noise; Ice Age: Continental Drift; The Bone Collector; BMT: Taxi; Pinocchio; The Dilemma; The Country Bears; Valentine’s Day; Bringing Down the House; Notes: Musician-turned-actress, she is pretty much just an actress now. Culminated in an Oscar nomination for her role in Chicago.)
Eugene Levy – (Known For: American Pie; Vacation; Finding Dory; American Reunion; American Pie 2; American Pie: The Wedding; Father of the Bride; Over the Hedge; Night at the Museum 2; Josie and the Pussycats; Splash; Best in Show; Goon; Heavy Metal; Taking Woodstock; Serendipity; Like Mike; A Mighty Wind; Astro Boy; Curious George; Future BMT: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd; Holy Man; Madea’s Witness Protection; The Ladies’ Man; Down to Earth; I Love Trouble; Club Paradise; Cannonball Fever; Armed and Dangerous; Almost Heroes; Once Upon a Crime…; A Ted Named Gooby; BMT: New York Minute; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Bringing Down the House; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2006 for Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and The Man; Notes: Famed Canadian comedy actor huge in the comedy scene of the 1980s, particularly for SCTV for which he won two Emmys.)
Budget/Gross – $33 million / Domestic: $132,716,677 (Worldwide: $164,729,679)
(An absolute smash hit. One would wonder why it didn’t get a sequel. $100 million for a comedy is no joke.)
#11 for the Romantic Comedy genre
(Incredible. The next highest BMT is at 14 with Sweet Home Alabama. Came out right in the thick of the rom com boom in the 2000s. This genre basically comes up every two months so we’ve had plenty of notes about it kind of getting relegated to VOD and dying, so no need to rehash that. This is currently the highest grossing qualifying rom com though. Cannot be beat.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 34% (50/149): Though the cast shines, they can’t save this comedy, which is overly contrived and filled with outdated and offensive racial jokes.
(Do it. Just say it Rotten Tomatoes. It’s racist. A bunch of white Hollywood producers got together, made a bunch of borderline jokes concerning black people, and everyone kind of shrugged their shoulders. Actually that is unfair. I bet Queen Latifah didn’t think it was racist at the time. And also I specifically remember seeing this trailing and thinking to myself “oh no … that seems racist”, so people really didn’t shrug their shoulders. Although that box office gross suggests otherwise …)
Poster – Sklogging Down the House (C-)
(Nah, pass. While the framing is humorous, everything else is basically the opposite of what I want out of a poster. Bumped up from D- for the cleverness of the framing.)
Tagline(s) – Everything he needed to know about life, she learned in prison. (C)
(Wake me up when you finish reading this. Again, I think they landed on a tagline that conveys something about the plot in a slightly clever way… and yet it’s terrible.)
Keyword(s) – lawyer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.9 Basic Instinct 2 (2006); 77.0 Material Girls (2006); 73.1 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003); 72.0 Caddyshack II (1988); 69.1 Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004); 68.6 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013); 67.1 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009); 64.3 Fair Game (1995); 64.2 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 63.6 Body of Evidence (1993);
(Dr. T & the Women is ridiculous. It doesn’t actually qualify for BMT. It actually makes me wonder about how many such films exist … wait a minute I have this data. At least some of it. And there are about 60 films with BMeTrics above 50 but Rotten Tomatoes scores above 40%. Dr. T is the best Romance available though, so it has that going for it.)
Notes – According to the commentary, the house that Kate lives in is actually the same house from Father of the Bride (1991). (fun. fact)
Producers wanted the slang that was spoken in the movie to be current and relevant to the time period in which the movie was released. This proved to be difficult as words take on different meaning to become Ebonics almost everyday. (Whatever words they used during filming might not have been in circulation by the time the film was released.) In order to play it safe, some of the Ebonics spoken in the movie was made up by the actors on the spot. (Oh no)
In one of Steve Martin’s early comedy skits, he can’t pronounce the word “abominable”. Mrs. Arness, near the end when she is “stoned”, struggles in a similar way to say the word “abominably”
Jason Filardi’s original screenplay was entitled “Jailbabe.com”. He had Adam Sandler and Angelina Jolie in mind when he first wrote it. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat a terrible title)
Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, “Filmed in Panavision” is listed in the end credits.
Michael Rosenbaum wore a wig as Todd Gendler due to shaving his head bald for the role of Lex Luther in Smallville (2001).
The Russian title for the film translates as “House Upside Down”. The German title of the movie translates to “House over the Head”.