Jumping the Broom: Movie Review
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Jumping the Broom is a surprisingly touching and sincere comedy for mature audiences. It follows the travails of Jason and Sabrina, as their two very different families meet for the first time just days before their wedding. Through the difficulties and problems that occur, their faith in God and love for one another is strengthened.
Spoiler Alert: The movie opens on Sabrina Watson after a regrettable one-night stand. She prays for forgiveness for making this mistake (again) and makes a vow that she will stay pure until she is married. She then asks God to send her a husband and make it obvious, and promptly hits a pedestrian with her car. The victim, Jason Taylor, is unharmed and the two begin a chaste but whirlwind romance. They are engaged within a few months, and plan to marry immediately because Sabrina has a job opportunity in China.
Due in part to the rapid nature of their relationship’s development, Sabrina has never met Jason’s family. Two days before the wedding, Jason’s mother arrives at the Watson’s gorgeous estate in Martha’s Vineyard, along with her best friend, her nephew and Jason’s uncle. Mrs. Taylor is a widow and is already off-put by what she sees as rude behavior by Sabrina before she even arrives. Conflict begins immediately upon Mrs. Taylor’s arrival, with misunderstandings and intentional slights from both sides.
A central bone of contention revolves around Mrs. Taylor’s desire to see Jason and his bride-to-be “jump the broom,” a reminder of the only way slaves had to declare their commitment of marriage. Sabrina does not wish to do this, as she wants a “simple, modern and elegant” ceremony. Jason seems to mostly avoid comment on this and much of the rest of his mother’s actions. This draws Sabrina’s ire, and she challenges him to defend and fight for her. Jason is torn between his mother and his fiancée.
Meanwhile, Sabrina’s parents’ marriage is going through a trial of its own. They are obviously not in a happy place, but they both affirm after a particularly harsh argument that their marriage vows are non-negotiable, and they will do what it takes to hold to them.
Sabrina’s vow of chastity is an interesting, but mixed thread in the movie, as it leads to many coarse jokes, but is also clearly affirmed as a positive thing.
There are a few other romance subplots, one between a younger man and an older woman. The younger man relentlessly pursues the woman, who half-heartedly rebuffs his advances. Then, there is the Maid of Honor who falls for the wedding chef. This one leads to a fairly sensual scene between the two.
As the wedding approaches, the tension between the Watson’s and the Taylor group gets stronger and stronger. Despite some attempts to extend an olive branch, open hostility breaks out between the two sides. Things reach a head when Mrs. Taylor, believing she is acting to protect her son from making a mistake, reveals a Watson family secret she overheard. The reaction is explosive, and it looks like the wedding is off. Can Sabrina and Jason’s relationship be salvaged from this blow?
How It Measures Up
Part of what makes Jumping the Broom strong is the way in which the conflict between the families develops. It never feels contrived like Meet the Parents. Instead problems arise naturally from actions and words that always seem appropriate and believable from the character. In short, it feels real and is therefore very engaging.
Jumping the Broom places strong value on the sanctity of marriage, the importance of vows, and the power of prayer. It also supports chastity until marriage. Consequently, Jumping the Broom is a surprisingly touching, heartfelt comedy for older audiences. The acting is great all around, as is the writing, and the pace is perfectly engaging the whole way through. Strong caution is advised however, as the movie is filled with quite a bit of coarse, suggestive humor.
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