Not Easily Broken belongs to the category of a pro-family film, where it preaches
about the virtues of marriage, and the sacred vows that are extremely difficult to
be broken, especially when it has a religious aspect to it, with god being one of
the three strands in a couple's union, where in-laws have to be put in their place
without voting rights, much less dispense ill-advice or pouring fuel to fire in a
Based on a novel by T.D. Jakes, it gives its take on the challenges faced in modern
marriages, and to those who are single, it can be somewhat of a put of, in getting
yourself into potential fixes, or for those already in it, could probably attest to
whether they face similar issues from time to time, which basically stemmed from a
change in expectations, roles (especially when it's on who's bringing home the
bacon), and romance being automatically making way for reality, with time
management, and individualistic tendencies start to creep back into a steady state
The film opens with Dave Johnson (Morris Chestnut) marrying his sweetheart Clarice
Clark (Taraji P. Henson, whom you'll know from her stint in The Curious Case of
Benjamin Button) and everything looks hopeful, nice and dandy. Until of course the
honeymoon period's over, and the income disparity sets in that we see some seeds of
discord being sown, especially when both seem to be pulling in the opposite
directions from each other, rather than supporting each other's goals and work. I
bet the last straw anyone needs is to be constantly belittled or pushed away, and
then comes that big bang which, for a direct to DVD movie, seem to be top notch, but
nothing not seen before.
There's a bit of comedy in this rather serious dramatic offering, courtesy of Dave's
pals Brock Houseman (Eddie Cibrian) and Tree (Kevin Hart), and collectively they
would probably represent the state of affairs that married men would likely fall
into - Dave who seem happy with his lot but having a lot of unhappy undercurrents
brewing, Brock who's off the blocks with his divorce and Tree being the classic
hen-pecked husband just to maintain the peace, and becoming the jester for the group
with his self-deprecating moments. For guys, it does get a little depressing
watching them bring up problems to which they have no concrete solutions to.
Watching this film is like watching a television soap opera, where deceit and
betrayal are usual fodder themes to spice up the narrative, and to become
adversarial events that a couple have to overcome, and as the saying goes, that
which will not break you only makes you stronger. Adversaries also come in the form
of in-laws such as Jenifer Lewis' Mary Clark character, or single mom Julie Sawyer
(Maeve Quinlan) who provides a source and object of affection given her
availability. Enough moments here to make you hiss, or to root for.
So if you're looking for some soap operatic family drama, then Not Easily Broken
will remind you of the ties that bind, and to keep certain expectations in check
because dreams vary differently from reality.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
There's only a standard making of documentary titled Making Not Easily Broken (13:44) which includes a behind the scenes look at the production, as well as interviews with the cast and crew, and novelist T.D. Jakes whose story this film is based upon. 3 Deleted Scenes and 2 extended ones are included, which runs a total of slightly more than 5 minutes combined. You don't get any explanation on why they get removed though, and are presented in letterbox format with a Play All function. 4 Previews containing trailers for Seven Pounds, Fireproof, Obsessed and Cadillac Records round up the limited extras.
I guess nobody can dispute the quality that goes into a Sony PIctures Home Entertainment straight to DVD film. Presented in an anamorphic widescreen format without obvious blemishes to visual quality, there isn't much audio design in the film that tests out the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio here.
by Stefan Shih
Posted on 31 May 2009