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Breakin' All the Rules (2004)

When it comes to getting dumped... He wrote the book.

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 85 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a

2004 has been one mother of a year for Jamie Foxx. He’ll remember it for getting two Best Actor nominations – from the Oscars and the Baftas – for his jaw-dropping portrayal of Ray Charles in the hit biopic Ray. He’ll remember it for getting two Best Supporting Actor noms – again from the Oscars and the Baftas – for his memorable stint opposite Tom Cruise in the memorable roadside thriller ‘Collateral’. He’ll probably even remember it for getting a bit of a smack in the wrists from the US courts for disturbing the peace and – allegedly – roughing up a New Orleans copper. But, a few years down the line, even he might struggle to remember anything about his starring role in ‘Breakin’ All The Rules’, a completely unremarkable addition to the rom-com genre if ever there was one.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I particularly disliked this one – there’s very little to dislike about it. It’s a nice film, with some nice faces, a couple of nice jokes, and a nice ending. It also makes absolutely no impact whatsoever.

Foxx, sporting some a frighteningly wild head of hair, plays Quincy Watson, a humble but intelligent office worker with a high-flying magazine publishing company. When girlfriend Helen (Bianca Lawson) decides to give him the old heave-ho in favour of jetting off to Paris with another man, poor old Quince decides to write a self-help book detailing how you should and shouldn’t dump your other half. Of course, this being Movie Land, it’s an instant best-seller, and before he knows what’s going on Quincy is a man in demand: from boss Philip (Peter MacNicol) who inexplicably wants advice on giving hottie girlfriend Rita (Jennifer Esposito) the push), to admirer Nicky (Gabrielle Union), who’s after him for different reasons entirely. Throw lady-chasing cousin Evan (Morris Chestnut) into the bargain, and you’ve got yourself the ingredients for a charming, if extremely simplistic, comedy farce.

It may be titled ‘Breakin’ All Rules’, but it’s certainly not a movie to practice what it preaches. Writer-director Dan Taplitz’s screenplay relies predominantly on repeatedly mistaken identities and various coincidences for its laughs and, though certainly not without some degree of charm, the whole thing is about as safe as this sort of comedy gets.

It's Got: A good enough cast to just about make it a success. Just about.

It Needs: To break not all of the rules, but at least a few of them.


Current Hollywood golden boy or not, even Jamie Foxx wasn’t entirely free from making the odd duffer in 2004.