Baby making is serious business. So is choosing the person to carry the baby you can’t have. Professional couple John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall) have been ready to accept parenthood for a while. Unfortunately, multiple attempts have beared no fruit. Laura is unable to get pregnant.
All options exhausted lead to the last possible one. The two, mainly on Laura’s plea, decide to have their baby through a surrogate. They select Anna (Jaz Sinclair), a 21 year old waitress who is the right fit even with an off-putting boyfriend in Mike (Theo Rossi). As a token of appreciation, they even open their home to her. The more time Anna spends around the two, she develops an intense attraction to John. Her love is unrequited though. But perhaps, she holds all the cards, and the baby, and as such, John may be forced to play along.
It is a tradition unlike any other, and yours truly is not talking about The Masters on CBS. Since 2014, the second weekend of September has been a weekend in which the moviegoing world gets a predominately African-American movie from Screen Gems. No Good Deed, The Perfect Guy, and now, When The Bough Breaks. All follow similar plotlines more or less, similar direction, and even share a star or two here and there. This is simply to say that the quality is about what one would expect.
I’ve made my appreciation of the psycho jilted lover genre well-known before. That’s all When The Bough Breaks really is. Director Jon Cassar competently films the events on screen without adding much to the proceedings. I’m not sure if any of these movies are actually ever “good;” at their best they are very fun watches like Play Misty for Me or Swimfam. At their worst, they are on par with The Boy Next Door, too boring to be so bad it’s good.
When The Bough Breaks is a little closer to the latter than the former. Everything is so perfunctorily telegraphed that most amusement is lost. Seeing the trailer so many times isn’t lost on me in regards to this being so telegraphed, but anyone who has seen a few of these films knows exactly what will be killed, where the final confrontation will be held (hint: somewhere secluded that the characters casually mention early on), and how conveniently why the law cannot help our protagonists.
The fun factor of the jilted psycho lover movie almost always seems correlated to how well the antagonist does crazy well. Are they believable being completely unhinged? Even more importantly, are they noteworthy? Jaz Sinclair is the off-kilter tempest, and she doesn’t do too bad. Still, she does pale in comparison when held up to similar roles, and her early performance is somewhat uneven before she goes, somewhat abruptly, full-fledged crazy. As for the other sides in the love triangle, Hall and Chestnut are dependable. Chestnut’s character is a little more smarter, whereas Hall’s is dumbed down in the decision-making department early on because otherwise there would be no movie.
The story has been seen before, and in more memorable fashion. When The Bough Breaks features a familiar delivery, but nothing worth remembering. Better to leave this baby unattended in the crib.
Photo credits go to joblo.com, fandango.com, and screenrant.com.
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