Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not Easily Broken

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Marriage Vows Tested in Faith-Based Drama from Bishop T.D. Jakes

No matter how hard he tries, Dave Johnson (Morris Chestnut) can do nothing to satisfy his wife, Clarice (Taraji Henson). She’s one of those sassy sisters who has never learned to cut a brother any slack. The trouble is that she was raised by a single-mom (Jenifer Lewis) who showed her father no respect. So Clarice is simply treating her Dave in the same man-hating fashion she was raised to believe ever guy deserves.
Compounding the problem is the fact that she makes more money than her husband. You see, she’s a successful realtor who has recently been named salesperson of the year. And her man, by contrast, had to settle with being a general contractor after an injury ended his dream of becoming a major league baseball player.
It doesn’t help matters any that Dave is impatient to start a family after ten years of marriage, while materialistic Clarice just wants to make more money in order to be able to continue to afford to live in the lap of luxury. The net result is that, as the breadwinner, she feels entitled to criticize her hubby constantly, especially about what she sees as his lack of ambition.
Dave, however, enjoys hanging with his pals, ladies man Brock (Eddie Cibrian) and equally-henpecked Tree (Kevin Hart), with whom he coaches a little league team. Everything changes the day Clarice is seriously injured in a car accident which occurs right while she is in the midst of nagging him.
First, Dave’s insufferable mother-in-law moves in with them, which means he now has to hear double the nagging. So, it’s no surprise that his head might be turned by Julie (Maeve Quinlan), the friendly physical therapist making regular visits to the house to assist his wife in rehabilitating her leg.
Thus, “Can this marriage be saved?” is the question at the heart of Not Easily Broken, a dysfunctional family drama directed by Bill Duke. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by televangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes who, by the way, makes a cameo appearance, here, along with his wife, Serita.
The picture is every bit as compelling as Jakes’ previous screen adaptation, Woman Thous Art Loosed, another morality play revolving around the battle-of-the-sexes. This flick, however, is a little lighter in tone, given that the marital tension is intermittently offset by comic relief coming mostly courtesy of trash-talking Tree and Clarice’s colorful colleague Michelle Niecy Nash.
But the humorous asides in no way interfere with the ability of the modern parable to drive home a sobering message about the sanctity of marriage. Faith-based entertainment at its best that you don’t have to be Born Again to appreciate.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and sexual references.
Running time: 99 minutes
Studio: Screen Gems

To see a trailer for Not Easily Broken, visit:

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