Bringing Down the House (2003)



Critic Consensus: Though the cast shines, they can't save this comedy, which is overly contrived and filled with outdated and offensive racial jokes.

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Movie Info

A man looking for a woman just like himself ends up with someone quite different in this farcical comedy. Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a lawyer who is having trouble getting his life back on track after his wife, Kate (Jean Smart), divorces him; he's also adjusting to his new status as a single father. Looking for companionship, Peter tries an internet dating site and virtually meets "lawyer-girl," an attractive and single fellow attorney. Peter makes a date with her, but the woman who arrives at his door turns out to be Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah), who not only isn't a lawyer, she turns out to be an escaped convict. Charlene is also a brash and brassy African-American, while Peter is perhaps the most tightly wound white guy in L.A. Charlene explains to Peter that she's strung him along because she's innocent of the crime for which she was convicted, and she needs a top-notch attorney to help prove her case. Peter isn't the least bit interested at first, but Charlene isn't the sort of woman to take "no" for an answer, and in time she wears him down and agrees to help. As Charlene moves into Peter's home, she helps him to loosen up and unleash his inner groove, which quite surprises Kate, and her down-to-earth advice comes in handy for Peter's son and daughter. But Charlene may end up going too far when Peter is asked to entertain Mrs. Arness (Joan Plowright), a wealthy woman looking for a new law firm. Bringing Down the House also features Eugene Levy as Howie, one of Peter's friends who takes a keen interest in Charlene, and Betty White as one of Peter's neighbors.
PG-13 (for language, sexual humor and drug material)
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Written By:
In Theaters:

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Steve Martin
as Peter Sanderson
Queen Latifah
as Charlene Morton
Eugene Levy
as Howie Rottman
Joan Plowright
as Mrs. Arness
Jean Smart
as Kate Sanderson
Kimberly J. Brown
as Sarah Sanderson
Angus T. Jones
as Georgey Sanderson
Missi Pyle
as Ashley
Michael Rosenbaum
as Todd Gendler
Betty White
as Mrs. Kline
Jim Haynie
as Ed Tobias
Jernard Burks
as Widow's Bodyguard
Matt Lutz
as Aaron
Bronzell Miller
as Widow's Bodyguard
Randy Oglesby
as FBI Agent
Jesse Corti
as Italian FBI Agent
Bernard Smalls
as Doorman
Teddy Lane Jr.
as Big Man
Vincent Ward
as Big Man
Michael Ensign
as Daniel Barnes
Josh Waters
as College Party Boy
Anne Fletcher
as Saleslady
John Prosky
as Male Commentator
Seth Howard
as Caddy
Diana Carreno
as Hip Hopper
Tim Stevenson
as Hip Hopper
Eddie Garcia
as Hip Hopper
Sundy Carter
as Flygirl
Anne Bellamy
as Hostess
Walter Addison
as Mr. Kline
Deezer D
as Heavy Guy
Kelly Price
as Nightclub Singer
Candace Jackson
as Backup Singer
Erika Nuri
as Backup Singer
Faida Amana Brigham
as Down Low Dancer
Aminah Abdul-Jillil
as Down Low Dancer
Barry Lee Youngblood
as Down Low Dancer
Cristian L. Judd
as Down Low Dancer
Oscar L. Orosoco
as Down Low Dancer
Garland R. Spencer
as Down Low Dancer
Montrose Hagins
as Charlene's Neighbor
Laura Grady Peterson
as Hotel Hostess
Eddie Garcia
as Hip Hopper
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News & Interviews for Bringing Down the House

Critic Reviews for Bringing Down the House

All Critics (148) | Top Critics (34)

A comedy that successfully plays with stereotypes, both racial and personal.

April 22, 2003
New York Daily News
Top Critic

You have somebody as smart as Steve Martin, and as smart and appealing as Queen Latifah in a movie like this. To have such an awful, offensive story is a real disappointment.

March 18, 2003
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

A comedy constructed from tapped-out ideas.

March 14, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

A Film in Which Steve Martin Will Appear in Full Hip-Hop Drag With Appropriate Slang for Not Less Than Six Minutes.

Full Review… | March 11, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

The material is thin and pandering and almost criminally negligent in bypassing opportunities for humor.

March 9, 2003
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

It's a sorry situation when actors as talented and funny as Queen Latifah and Steve Martin waste their efforts in an offensive exercise that feels like a bad sitcom.

Full Review… | March 7, 2003
USA Today
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bringing Down the House

Though it's slightly emphatic from the amount of racial humor, Bringing Down the House is a charming comedy. Steve Martin is slick and humorous as only he can do. Combine that with the stylish and pizzazz of one Queen Latifah, along with a sleek amount of supporting actors, you've got yourself quite the cast. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

A great feel good comedy!

Bethany Murphy
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer


Richard C
Richard C

Super Reviewer

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