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Breakin' All The Rules

Every summer brings both massive blockbusters and then little, small flicks that open alongside the massive blockbusters and just hope to break even. Made for $10 Million and grossing a little over $12 Mill, Breakin’ All The Rules debuted the same week as the Greek epic Troy and was then thrown to the wayside the next week when the third highest grossing motion picture of all time, Shrek 2, made it’s impact on the silver screen. Now the Jamie Foxx led comedy has hit the shelves, long before it’s theatrical competitors have, with a new Special Edition DVD. 2004 has been a big year for Jamie Foxx. After a great performance in this summer’s Collateral and with the biopic Ray guaranteed to turn heads in a few weeks, it would be very easy to have this flick swept under the rug. After watching Breakin’ All The Rules, it’s easy to say that Foxx has actually gone three for three. Surprisingly enough, this flick isn’t the blatant stereotype laden snooze fest I expected. Instead what we get is a nice delightful little romantic comedy.

Quincy Watson (Jamie Foxx) has just come off a bad break up with his fiancé, and instead of turning his depressing self-loathing into something embarrassing he decides to publish a break-up handbook. When Quincy’s cousin, Evan (Morris Chestnut), asks Quincy to meet up and talk with his estranged girlfriend Nicky (Gabrielle Union), the two instead spark up a little relationship of their own after Nicky deceives Quincy into believing she’s somebody else. This tale of mistaken identity, discovering what the proper way to break up is, and the truth of all the little lies we tell each other have every character in this film crisscrossing paths vigorously. The end result is a more clever slamming-door farce then we've seen in years.

Foxx’s charisma, Gabrielle Union and Jennifer Esposito’s sex appeal, Moris Chestnut’s pigheadedness, and Peter MacNicol’s geekiness make this movie a real treat. Jamie Foxx comes off as both arrogant and charming at the same time. His consistency of being a big clown at the right moment, as well as pulling off the serious stuff, adds a nice little weight to the piece. Gabrielle Union shakes free any pom-pom residue left over from Bring It On and plays a really strong character. Her “Nicky” is smart, sassy, and at the same time blindly ignorant. Chestnut plays the “playa” that wants Union, gets Esposito, and still has time to be a real hurdle for Foxx to jump through. Peter MacNicol, who has been hysterical without fail since his creepy role in Ghostbusters 2, is no different here. He continues to deliver numerous chuckles as he plays Evan and Quincy’s rich geeky boss, Philip Gascon. Jennifer Esposito plays his gold digging girlfriend and is so friggin’ hot, I would totally drink her bath water. Watching her seducing MacNicol, or for that matter anytime she is on screen, is utterly crotch numbing. She makes me want to pay money to see Taxi. Though I will resist that temptation.

Writer/Director Daniel Taplitz has interwoven a very complicated story to have it end up as a quirky comedy. As strange as it seems, it works. Breakin’ All The Rules is mildly entertaining and pretty amusing. It is a real shame that the studio dumped this flick in May with little to no promotion, and let it get swamped by the competition. If this came out a month or two earlier, it probably would’ve had a better chance at making some extra cash. It’s positive “FUBU” catered filmmaking that makes real crap like Soul Plane look more and more like the skid mark in the underpants of cinema that it really is.

When you’re walking down the aisles of your local video store wondering what to rent this week, give Breakin’ All The Rules a shot. You could do a lot worse. This “Special Edition” has a handful of extras on it that will keep you mildly entertained, even more so than the movie itself has. There is a gag reel, a mock interview, a making of featurette, cast and crew commentary, and an oddly out of place short film.

The gag reel is really just a montage of botched takes, one of which includes Peter MacNicol not having control of his own shoes as he slips and falls to the ground, leaving Jamie Foxx forced to dart off camera in a fit of laughter. The “Quincy Watson Mock Interview” is the full version of an interview Jamie Foxx did for a TV show within the movie. This full version of the interview appears to be totally improvised by both Foxx and the host. Unlike the similar feature on the Lost in Translation, there is nothing really funny here - just the usual Foxx shtick.

“The Break-Up Handbook” is the making of featurette, where various cast and crew comment on the complex storyline as well as the film’s clever little bits. It basically plays off as a Cliff's Notes to the entire film.

Gabrielle Union, producer Lisa Tornell, and writer/director Daniel Taplitz provide a group commentary on this disc. The trio comment on the making of the film, tell amusing anecdotes about working on the set with Foxx, and make fun of his cheese doodle hairstyle. Over all, it is a pretty entertaining comedy.

The out of place short film is the newly colorized and completely restored short film, The Three Stooges: Hoi Polloi. This Stooges flick is a little My Fair Lady like film where the Stooges become part of a bet made by a professor to try and pass the three off as gentlemen. Things go wrong, they embarrass the professor, and beat the crap out of each other in full Three Stooges fashion. Watching this “newly colorized” version seems strange, but it is an extremely funny short. Though why it’s included on this disc is a mystery.

The term “Special Edition” has been thrown around a lot lately, and this one really isn't that special, but for what it is, it’s pretty good. I’m at a loss as to why they threw a Three Stooges short alongside the standard features. But overall this edition of Breakin’ All The Rules is worthy enough for a movie that didn’t deserve to be as good as it is.