Not Easily Broken (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/04/2009

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

Well acted, but ultimately disappointing drama that's let down by a tedious script, sluggish direction, cloying sentimentality and an overwhelmingly sanctimonious central message.

What's it all about?
Directed by Bill Duke, Not Easily Broken is based on a best-selling novel by Bishop T. D. Jakes and stars Morris Chestnut as Dave Johnson, a once-promising baseball player whose career was ended by a college injury and who now makes a living as a one-man construction firm. Meanwhile, his wife Clarice (Taraji P. Henson) is enjoying a career as a high-flying real estate agent, leaving Dave to coach Little League with his friends Brock (Eddie Cibrian) and Tree (Kevin Hart) as a way of sublimating his desire to become a father.

However, when Clarice is seriously injured in a car accident, the tensions in their marriage are exacerbated still further when her nagging mother (Jenifer Lewis) moves in with them. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Dave finds himself increasingly attracted to Clarice's kind-hearted physical therapist, single mother Julie (Maeve Quinlan).

The Good
To be fair, the performances are fine: Chestnut makes a likeable lead and he has surprisingly strong chemistry with Quinlan. There's also strong support from Cibrian, Hart, Niecy Nash (toning down her usual schtick as Clarice's best friend) and Wood Harris (aka The Wire's Avon Barksdale), who's underused but still the best thing in the film as resentful ex-con Darnell.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that Clarice is such an emasculating bitch that you actually root for Dave to make a go of things with Julie, even though you know full well that the sanctimonious script won't have the guts to take things that far. Similarly, the direction is painfully sluggish throughout, while the dialogue is straight from The Big Book of Cliches and the plot eventually succumbs to cloying sentimentality of the worst kind.

Worth seeing?
Not Easily Broken is a badly written, poorly directed and frequently dull drama with an unconvincing central relationship that makes it impossible for the film to engage on an emotional level. One to avoid.

Film Trailer

Not Easily Broken (PG)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 12:58

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