Foxx's `Rules': Breakin' no new ground

May 14, 2004|By Roger Moore | Roger Moore,ORLANDO SENTINEL

They say that breaking up is hard to do. Now we know that it's true. Breakin' All the Rules, a comedy about breaking up, proves it.

A charming cast, engaging setting and clever conceit for a story aren't enough to make Rules break the run of unfunny romantic comedies this spring. It's a movie with very good-looking people trying to find something funny to say or do.

And it's more proof that Jamie Foxx is mellowing into somebody who may yet become a good dramatic actor but is no longer an interesting comic one.

Foxx plays Quincy Watson, a magazine editor whose girlfriend dumps him just as he is reassigned to the task of finding ways to lay off 15 percent of his colleagues. Quincy quits the job, and out of his booze-drenched haze starts to apply biz-theory layoff strategies to managing the proper breakup.

After his playa-cousin Evan (Morris Chestnut) field-tests some of the theories, Quincy writes the book on breaking up. His Rules becomes a hit.

And they work. So well that everybody in Quincy's circle follows them, including his boss (Peter MacNicol) and the boss' girlfriend (Jennifer Esposito). And there's Evan and the woman Evan wants to dump but who may dump him first, Nicky, played by Gabrielle Union.

Cute idea, adorably complicated as a romantic comedy should be. But it doesn't work.

Union has had a run of these clunking comedies and seems to deserve better. Chestnut may yet grow out of his need to preen and pose. And Foxx may think his comedy days are behind him, but it wouldn't kill him to do more than just go through the motions when he's cast in something like this.

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Breakin' All the Rules

Starring Jamie Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Peter MacNicol

Directed by David Taplitz

Time 85 minutes

Rated PG-13 (sexual material/humor, language)

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