After being dumped by his girlfriend, magazine editor Quincy Watson (Jamie Foxx)
has fallen into a pit of depression. Writing his way out of his funk, Quincy
comes up with a self-help book for men detailing easy steps to take when
breaking up with women. The book becomes an instant smash, but trouble soon
finds its way to Quincy's door when a case of mistaken identity leads his best
friend's girlfriend (Gabrielle Union, "Bad Boys 2") into his arms, testing the
effectiveness of his dating rules.
As insignificant and wafer thin as they make 'em, "Breakin' All the Rules" (IMDb listing) would
be a lot more offensive if it didn't seem like a UPN pilot that just won a token
theatrical release due to a lost poker wager. What's really excruciating about
the film is Jamie Foxx, who once had the aura of a great comedian, but has since
stumbled into a much more appealing dramatic career ("Ali"); he
couldn't even buy a laugh anymore. Foxx staggers his way through this dud, not
helped in the least by intensely unfunny co-stars Gabrielle Union,
Morris Chestnut, and Peter MacNicol ("Ally McBeal"), who takes it
upon himself to make this picture absolutely excruciating at times.
I give writer/director Daniel Taplitz (who made the sweet, well crafted 1997
film, "Commandments") credit for his restraint in frosty language (this is a
rare PG-13 urban-themed enterprise) and casting Foxx as
an intelligent character. But the rest of the film features softball gags with
an alcoholic dog, a shamelessly self-promoting soundtrack, and random editing to
get in and out of scenes, leaving parts of this film relatively indecipherable.
"Breakin'" is a mess, and even worse, a completely unenlightening one.
If you can believe this, the summation of ultimate romantic devotion in
"Breakin'" is this: are you willing to bite through your own skin? Not, "You
complete me." Not, "Love means never having to say you're sorry." Now it's,
"Please bite through your hand." We've finally come down to the level of
self-mutilation to express feelings, cruelly mistaking pain for passion. Rest
assured, there's little to mistake in "Breakin' All the Rules." It's almost
always a pain.
Filmfodder Grade: D