Quincy (Jamie Foxx) is a man with everything -- a good job as a magazine editor, good friends, and a fine woman to whom he's on the verge of proposing. Just as he's about to write a series of guidelines for firing employees, his girlfriend dumps him at their engagement party. Despondent, he quits his job, refusing to fire employees for his spineless boss (Peter MacNicol), and becomes a recluse.
The alone time inspires Quincy. Supplied with a broken heart and a deep knowledge of "termination psychology," he writes a manual on how to break up with your mate. With the help of his scoundrel cousin Evan (Morris Chestnut, shirtless again), the two land a publishing deal and the book becomes a hit. Oddly enough, it's the only non-fiction best seller that isn't a low-carb diet book.
Success is nice, but Quincy is still lonely, though everyone wants a piece of him. His former boss enlists his help on breaking up with his gold-digging girlfriend (Jennifer Esposito), while Evan needs Quincy's help in ending things with his flame, Nicky (Gabrielle Union, who should really know better). Long story short, Quincy falls for Nicky, though he doesn't know it's her, while Evan gets mistaken for his more famous cousin and starts fooling around with Esposito's gold digger hottie.
Supposedly humorous confusion ensues. Writer-director Daniel Taplitz builds the plot around a series of misunderstandings and mistaken identities, leading to a classic example of furthering a plot along at the expense of the characters, who respond like show ponies to Taplitz's script, acting deaf, dumb, and blind to the Three's Company-like antics. No character is likable: Foxx's is too thick headed to root for, Chestnut's resembles a dating show Don Juan, and Union's character is too erratic to take seriously. MacNicol's character is like a more spastic version of his role on TV's Ally McBeal (that's not good) and Esposito's role is so irredeemably awful that steam will probably come out of Andrea Dworkin's ears if she sees the movie.
Taplitz sprinkles his script with crude humor, utilizing alcoholic dogs, horny old men, and penis jokes, all of which is funny if you've never seen a comedy. He also tries to heat up the proceedings with some seductive gestures, but he can't get anywhere with that since it's done in the confines of a date movie starring robots. Breakin' All the Rules sticks to the rules of too many lame sitcoms and unfunny comedies past, which the doomed actors follow like lemmings off a cliff.
The DVD features a commentary from cast and crew, gag reel, a not unsubtantial making-of flick, and -- in one of the strangest add-ons of the year -- a colorized "Three Stooges" short film called Hoi Polloi.
Rules. He broke 'em.
Run time: 85 mins
In Theaters: Friday 14th May 2004
Box Office USA: $11.8M
Distributed by: Screen Gems
Production compaines: Screen Gems, Breakup Productions
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Fresh: 27 Rotten: 59
IMDB: 5.5 / 10
Director: Daniel Taplitz
Producer: Lisa Tornell
Screenwriter: Daniel Taplitz
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