Not Easily Broken
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +3

Morris Chestnut, Taraji P. Henson, Jenifer Lewis, Cannon Jay, Eddie Cibrian, Kevin Hart. Drama. Written by Brian Bird, from the novel by T.D. Jakes. Directed by Bill Duke.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A long-time married couple is going through changes. Heís an unsatisfied head of a construction firm, while she is becoming the darling of the real estate set. Lifeís struggles disrupt their union even further when she is injured in a car crash and a kind therapist catches the husbandís eye.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The black version of Fireproof, Not Easily Brokenís message has to do with the sanctity of marriage. Come to think of it, there are several positive messages in the film, including loyalty in marriage, the need to keep God centered in the marriage, the need to be vigilant concerning negative forces upon a marriage, and doing whatís right. Alas, for me, the honeymoon is over. Sadly, along with the positive messages and sound performances from Morris and Henson, the uneven direction and heavy-handed theatrics keep the film from truly touching us emotionally. As with the productions of Tyler Perry, the end result is closer to corny melodrama than thought-provoking cinema. And Kevin Hart as comic relief, though funny, seems to be not just in a different movie, but a different genre. Rather than tension building, we get these overwrought dramatics separated by Chris Rock-type hysteria. The comedy used here doesnít alleviate tension, it simply interrupts the filmís direction.

That said, many viewers at the screening seemed to enjoy the antics. Mostly the accepting members of the audience were Black. Iíve noticed that Black audiences tend to be supportive of a film featuring an almost Black cast no matter the filmís quality. Thatís not to be perceived as a putdown, but rather as a statement of fact. I can understand their acceptance. Finally, we are living in a time when Black stories are told and where a white character is the token. Unfortunately, Black filmmakers are now given the right to make as many bad movies as Whites.

Of course, I have some guilt saying anything negative about this film, because while I think the dialogue and story structure could have been more effective, there is a reverence for God, and the film is saying we need Him in our lives. Donít hear that much in films today. There are positive role models as we see men trying to help kids become all they can be. And forgiveness and understanding are stressed. Only a meanie could put down a film containing such important messages.

Iíd like to offer up a DVD alternative: Sounder. Award-winning performances from Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson highlight this stirring story of a black sharecropperís family battling injustice and poverty. Though a completely different setting and economic situation, the struggle is more believable and the performances are, well, more sound. Truly a marvelous movie.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Sony Pictures

Summary
Crude Language: There are several conversations between the menfolk concerning sexual matters. Though these dialogues avoid vulgarity, they often seem unnecessary.
Obscene Language: There are several expletives (damns, hells, asses), but I caught no harsh language.
Profanity: One misuse of Jesusí name.
Violence: The car crash is jolting; a boy dies in a swimming accident. Blood: Some blood during the accident, but nothing overly graphic.
Sexual Intercourse: There are a couple of sexual situations between man and wife, but nothing graphic; a man is tempted to have an affair, but his understanding of how such an act can damage his marriage prevents him from the act.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some social drinking; the men are seen in a bar and they often drink beer.
Other: Positive messages about the sanctity of marriage.
Running Time: 99 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Above

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