“Jumping the Broom”
Several things jump out about “Jumping the Broom”:
1) The entire cast consists of beautiful people, as if the casting director could only choose models. Most of them can even act.
2) The reference to “Jumping the Broom” is from the African-American culture. In the slave days, blacks were not legally permitted to marry, so at the end of the unofficial ceremony the couple symbolically enters their marital threshold by jumping over a broom. There are many folks of African-American descent who still observe this ritual, though there are also “modern” couples who consider it an unnecessary vestige of an earlier era. In fact, that tension is one of the dynamics in the film itself.
3) The leading man, Jason (Laz Alonso), when he gets in a tight spot, drives off to an isolated spot and starts talking….to God. He actually prays, with sincerity and integrity. The influence of (co-producer) Rev. T.D. Jakes on this film is apparent. (He also convincingly plays “The Reverend” in the wedding, and what a great voice.)
4) Though the script consists of discovering momentous secrets, and the dialogue hovers around much interpersonal conflict, there is no swearing. As if the writer decided that “substitute slang” was just that, and instead has all the characters express themselves clearly and articulately. This feels like dialogue out of the 1950’s. But the facility with language is refreshing.
5) The setting is lovely ( Martha’s Vineyard ), the scenes are gorgeous (standing on the shore gazing at the sailboats on the water), and the wardrobes are lavish---as if the universal informality of contemporary culture suddenly disappears. This, too, feels like the 1950’s.
6) Here, families may engage in a war of words, and say spiteful things, and even hold grudges for years---but they always stay together. Sure, it’s idyllic, but which church people wouldn’t want to see this model lifted up to our culture?
7) Oh, did I mention that the entire cast is black? Except, of course, for the white hired help…..oh, sweet irony.
8) Sure, the acting is a bit melodramatic in places, but there is so much to like about this whole enterprise, and the way in which it was produced, that would make this veteran Pastor recommend it to genteel church audiences of any denomination.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Co-Pastor, United Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas