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Breakin' All The Rules

Stupid Like a Foxx

Run away from any theater showing Jamie Foxx's new movie "Breakin' All the Rules" and don't look back. Hurry now. I'm worried the level of laziness and desperation this movie embodies is contagious.

"Breakin' All the Rules" stars Jamie Foxx in what can only be called a 90-minute lunge at a career shift. Foxx plays Quincy Watson, a slick magazine editor who loses his fiancée and job in the space of a week. In his misery, he writes a manual on how to break up with someone and, 30 seconds of screen time later, is a bestselling author. His cousin Evan (Morris Chestnut) plans to use the book in ending his three-month relationship with Nikki (Gabrielle Union) but Quincy ends up meeting her first and falling for her. In the meantime, there's a really uninteresting subplot with Peter MacNicol ("The Biscuit" from "Ally McBeal") as Quincy's boss and his golddigging girlfriend (Jennifer Esposito) who sleeps with Evan thinking he's Quincy. There's also a dog that drinks brandy and has a loose bladder. Yes. That too.

You've probably already noticed that this is "Down With Love With Black People!" which actually sounds like fun. But whereas that film knew that romantic comedies work best when you stress the second word, "Rules" wants to be nothing less than Jamie Foxx's great leap into the well-tailored suit of a romantic lead. Writer/Director Daniel Taplitz pigheadedly appoints him straight man while Morris Chestnut (an A-plus foil in "The Best Man") gets all the physical comedy. Reverse the roles and you might actually have something but Chestnut isn't the star. As a result, Foxx seems tied to a leash, his comedic talents and dramatic presence (see "Ali," where he practically outacts The Champ) left in the storage bins of his pre-star life.

Perhaps Jamie Foxx thought he could do both, the yucks and the aw shucks, because the audience I sat with laughed like hell at dog-farting and dweeby white guy dancing humor but also sighed in all the right places. I didn't. Not once. The whole experience, with its lazy plotting, pandering execution and neutering of Jamie Foxx's sizeable talents just made my skin crawl. I could tell 20 minutes in that I was watching a mistake. After an hour, all I wanted to do was run.

You with me? Good, don't stop.