Directed By: Bill Duke
Starring: Morris Chestnut, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Lewis, Maeve Quinlan, Kevin Hart, Wood Harris, Albert Hall
Rated: Rated PG-13 for sexual references and thematic elements
Studio: Screen Gems
What is the opposite of a chick flick? Not Easily Broken, a new movie that has all of the usual relationship challenges that we routinely see on screen with modern love, and romance films, but this time we are encouraged to see the situation from the guy’s perspective. With the script flipped, hubby is the tolerate patient partner, who longs for kiddies, while the wife and her mama are a bit much.
Small businessman Dave Johnson (Chestnut) and his wife Clarice Clark (Henson, aka Queenie in the Benjamin Button film) have the life: a beautiful home, successful careers and the determination to keep succeeding. When tragedy changes Clarice’s ability to work, Dave hires Julie Sawyer (Quinlan) to aid Clarice in her recovery from a major auto accident.
Dave, desperately want kids, did I mention the role reversal here, in the same way that Clarice longs for a new Escalade; “My clients need to drive around in style” barks the “keeping up with the Jones’s” wife of the year candidate, Ms. Clark. Mary “Mama” Clark (Lewis), as Johnson’s overbearing mother-in-law, is an active and unwanted participant in his marriage. Mama Clark has an opportunity to really cause havoc when she moves in to the family home. As both Clarice and her mother yell and disrespect Dave, the supposed head of the household, withdraws to find solitude in a basement corner or to commiserate with his pals.
Watching the men commiserate about their marital situations, is funny and touching. It is nothing that we haven’t seen before, but casting is great, especially Kevin Hart who portrays Tree, the most whiney, complaining husband in the land. After the complaints about his wife, such as the gross skin condition on her back that Tree rubs lotion onto, it is not a wonder that we never actually meet “Mrs. Tree.”
Not easily broken works because it doesn’t slam you over the head with a Christian message. Instead it demonstrated how one’s belief system is a part of their overall lives. The winner is that this film will appeal to a mainstream audience. The film title is speaking of the marital bond between a husband, wife and God, and how it is not easily broken if the bond it kept in tact.
Not Easily Broken, the latest cinematic offering from Reverend T. D. Jakes, has a diverse cast, a strong storyline and is really entertaining. As main stream films with a Christian influence go, this is one of the best. Though it played a bit like a Lifetime television drama, the film champions the guy who will “man up” in the midst of temptation and marital hardships.