Breakin' All The Rules

on May 14, 2004 by Wade Major
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In writer/director Daniel Taplitz's formulaic sex farce "Breakin' All the Rules," Jamie Foxx plays Quincy Watson, a magazine editor who, after being dumped by his fiancée (Bianca Lawson), channels his frustrations into what becomes a hit bestseller: "The Breakup Manual." But the manual ends up causing havoc for everyone involved as a series of silly misunderstandings and two ridiculously forced episodes of mistaken identity pair Quincy with Nicky (Gabrielle Union), the girlfriend of his cousin Evan (Morris Chestnut), while entangling Evan and Quincy's nebbishy boss Phillip (Peter MacNicol) with a sultry gold-digging shark named Rita (Jennifer Esposito).

It's all incredibly routine fare, borrowing as much from the old Doris Day and Rock Hudson comedies as from their numerous knockoffs. Especially irritating are the glaring similarities to "Down with Love," which at least had the common sense to be an overt Day/Hudson satire. But here, it's all strung together as if the leftovers are actually fresh, suggesting that either Taplitz doesn't know any better or doesn't care. Either way, it's an unacceptable condescension.

Most vexing of all is why Jamie Foxx continues to make forgettable comedy vehicles of this sort. Not only has he proven himself a better performer than this, but such detours never play to his strengths as either a comedian or a dramatic actor. The supporting players fare slightly better with MacNicol, Chestnut, Esposito and Union all basically cast for type. None of them exactly shine to potential, but they do a solid job of handling substandard material in workmanlike fashion. Starring Jamie Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Peter MacNicol and Jennifer Esposito. Directed and written by Daniel Taplitz. Produced by Lisa Tornell. A Screen Gems release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for sexual material/humor and language. Running time: 85 min

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