Bringing Down The House (2003) 
Blu-ray Comedy
Written by Noah Fleming   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

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What was I thinking?  Seeing a film like this shows you how much your tastes in filmmaking and comedy evolve over the years.  I am 100 percent utterly ashamed that I ever laughed at this film when I first saw it nearly 10 years ago.  Having not seen the film since I was excited to watch it again.  Boy, I really wished I hadn’t.

“Bringing Down The House” is perhaps one of the most vulgar comedies of the last decade.  I can see a lot of people out there taking offense to almost to the whole film.  I am not blaming the actors nor the director.  The writers on this film must have been smoking something to come up with such a contrived pile of….

If anything, it is the actors that save this film, with the exception of Betty Davis.  Queen Latifah thankfully went on to do more well-respected films.  Steve Martin had already topped out by this point.  Unfortunately, Kimberly J. Brown didn’t seem to get past her Disney role in the “Halloweentown” saga.  Missi Pyle continued her streak of, well I don’t what to call her.  Jean Smart continues to be a favorite of mine, and of course we all know what Eugene Levy is famous for.

This film however, brings all the racist and stereotypical racial profiles to the forefront.  How anyone could have thought it would be funny is beyond me.  Sure, there are some nice moments in the film, but ultimately the film lands with a thud.

Steve Martin is a tax attorney that gets roped into helping an escaped convict (Latifah) prove her innocence.  Along the way there are cracks made about Aunt Jemimah, white trash, straight trippin’ boo, etc., etc.  There really isn’t much of a story here.  There is a beginning and an end.  The rest is just jab after jab.

“Bringing Down The House” from the same studio as “Father Of The Bride,” thankfully comes to Blu-ray with a better transfer than the other.  Still, fleshtones are bit over-baked, but nearly as much as in “Father In The Bride.”  The level detail clarity is above average and colors are accurate for the most part beyond the fleshtones.  Black levels are decent but not up to code given the age of the film.  The filmic quality of the transfer is maintained.  Artifacting is almost non-existent.  There is a hint of ringing and haloing.  Overall this is a suitable transfer and a worthy upgrade from the DVD.

The audio quality is not as pleasing as the video.  There is one consistent flaw in the transfer.  Actually, I think it stems back to the production sound mixer, but there are ways of limiting the effect using today’s post-production tools.  The problem here is a constant cracking in the dialogue.  I thought it was a blown tweeter fro a while, but it wasn’t consistent enough and other films don’t replicate the use.  It is clear distortion seemingly due to a poor production recordist.  Aside form that, the LFE channel gets some nice use with the hip-hop music.  The surround channels are a bit more active than I would have expected which is a nice surprise.  Other than the dialogue issue the audio track is well presented on the Blu-ray disc.

The Blu-ray comes with the standard DVD features.  There is an audio commentary with Director Adam Shankman and writer Jason Filardi.  There are some deleted scenes and a gag reel.  There is a behind the scenes featurette and “The Godfather Of Hop” featurette.  Lastly there is a Queen Latifah music video.

“Bringing Down The House” does not hold up well over time.  Maybe it was released at just to right time to be funny, but no longer is that case.  The video quality is decent and the audio quality suffers from one flaw in the dialogue track.  If you are so inclined this is an upgrade from the DVD though it seems the same source print is used.
Studio Touchstone Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Steve Martin, Queen Latifah, Kimberly J. Brown, Eugene Levy, Missi Pyle, Jean Smart, Betty Davis, Michael Rosenbaum
Director Adam Shankman
Film Release Year 2003
Release Year 2012
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 480i (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
Running Time 1 hr. 45 mins.
Sound Formats English DTS-HD Master 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles English SDH • French • Spanish
Special Features Director and Writer Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; Queen Latifah Music Video; “The Godfather Of Hop”; Behind The Scenes Featurette
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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