Bringing Down the House: Sam Emerson
Nancy Sidewater
August 08, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The premise of Bringing Down the House seemed funny enough: An online dating fiasco finds an ex-con from the hood (Queen Latifah) moving in with a white-bread tax attorney (Steve Martin). But a disappointing script full of, um, off-color jokes brings down more than just the house; it brings down the whole cast. Throw in Betty White talking about ”Negroes,” Joan Plowright smoking a doobie with some of ”the brothers,” and Martin gettin’ jiggy in a downtown nightclub and they’ve got us straight trippin’, all right. No doubt about it, this is a ”House” in desperate need of a renovation. EXTRAS Close the windows and lock the doors, we don’t want any more.

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