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Breakin' All the Rules

Starring Jamie Foxx, Morris Chestnut, Jennifer Esposito with Peter MacNicol and Gabrielle Union
Written and Directed by Daniel Taplitz

IN SHORT: an OK dateflick. [Rated PG-13 for Sexual Material/Humor and Language. 85 minutes]

Spoil Magazine editor Quincy Watson (Jamie Foxx) is the happiest man in the world. He's got a great job. He's about to formally engage himself to the lovely Helen (Biana Lawson) and the whole world is going to know it 'cuz he's throwng a big party to celebrate. Only then does his world completely and totally fall to pieces, in writer/director Daniel Taplitz' romantic comedy, a film as evenly balanced by its good points as it is by all the stuff we've seen hundreds (sic) of times before. That's the problem with seeing 250+ films a year. We've seen just about everything dozens of times before. That being the case it's easy to see why those middle of the road flicks fall into our rental category -- we're a decade plus past dating stage so we're content to get a DVD. Those still workng the field won't waste much cash if they plant, nor will they miss much if they avoid Breakin 'All The Rules. That gets us ahead of the point.

The point we want to make, first off, is that Jamie Foxx is a bigger star than we gave himcredit for -- that's a conceit of those of us who never see much television. We don't sufferfrom the same kind of hero worship that the average fan does. What we did notice at our screening was that, for the first time at any screening of a film cast primarily with black actors, the audience was perfectly divided white and black. That's an indicator of a very wide following, so hat's off to Mr. Foxx.

And back to our story, which kicks off with Mr. Watson getting unceremoniously dumped by the aforementioned fiancee, who heads off to Paris to sow her wild oats. This after his new boss Philip Gascon (Peter MacNicol) has put him in charge of firing 15% of the magazine's staff, a job he finds he cannot do. Quincy puts name at the top of the "to be fired" list and heads home to mope. But first, he writes a letter to his beloved Helen which, by the time he's done, becomes the basis of a soon to be bestselling book on how to break off a relationship. That book is something Quincy's cousin Evan Fields (Morris Chestnut) should've read, but didn't. Evan asks Quincy to handle the dumping of his current flame, Nicky Callas (Gabrielle Union), because three months is about as long as he'll let a dating relationship run. Quincy has never met Nicky and he fails to notice any one but the fine short-haired fox standing at the bar of the Zig Zag club. She intros herself as "Mary" but she's really Nicky -- it's amazing how a hair cut can make a long haired beauty resemble Halle Berry -- and has decided to run her own game of pick up and dump and her ex's cousin.

This isn't the only set of mistaken identity to fill the story. Halfway through the movie, boss Gascon's (Peter MacNicol) fiancee Rita Monroe (Jennifer Esposito) shows up at Quincy's door and falls head first into an affair with a drunk Evan, who isn't about to 'fess up that he's not the lawful occupant of the property. All this before discovering the by-now blisteringly hot affair between Quincy and "Mary," who did the big reveal when she began to have legit feelings for our star.

Breakin' All The Rules is a cute as a button and a just shy of frenzied run of mistaken identity stories filling up the screen time. All perfectly OK if you're young enough not to have seen it enough times before. All perfectly fine to rent if you have.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Breakin' All The Rules, he would have paid . . .


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