Imagine a Tyler Perry movie with slightly better framing (just slightly), a quicker pace, a sweet disposition, and the surface sheen of a sitcom and you pretty much get JUMPING THE BROOM (not the Noah's Arc movie btw). All text instead of subtext, this unsubtle, soapy film plays like a MEET THE PARENTS/LOVE BOAT mashup...yet it's not as bad as that sounds...not quite.
The tale of a wedding of a rich girl to a working class guy and their family clashes ping pongs around its stunning Martha's Vineyard locations to showcase a lot of hyper-emoting, bitch slapping, secret-revealing, and often mean-spirited combat. Everything is a little too on-the-nose to qualify this as anything more than a time-killing programmer, and what it says about family bonds is certainly nothing new, but it ultimately has its heart in the right place.
It doesn't hurt that the cast is drop dead gorgeous either. Paula Patton, so memorable in PRECIOUS, is the romantic lead, and she overdoes the adorableness at times, but is just so damn perfect, you could care less. Same goes for her betrothed, played by Laz Alonso. Angela Basset plays Patton's mom, while Loretta Devine is the groom's soul-sucking nag... and as much as I love both of these actors, I have to say that neither are at their best here. Bassett comes across so damn unlikable, while Devine is just downright irritating, that it feels like the film has been overstuffed with villains. After 10 minutes, you just want them to act like decent human beings for once and treat each other with a modicum of respect. Instead, they gossip, take constant swipes at each other, and draw very sharp lines in the sand, in case we don't get that they don't like each other.
Basically a film about not judging a book by its cover, taking a breath and allowing each other to have our flaws, JUMPING THE BROOM ultimately feels nice enough. Just don't expect anything even bordering on a real, true moment.