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Starring Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall and introducing Jazz Sinclair, there’s no getting around the tired been-there-seen-that feel of this Lifetime Channel sounding couple-in-danger drama/thriller. From the very first shot of Sinclair, you know exactly what this film is going to be, even when you’re shouting at the trailer to please don’t do it. Perhaps when your movie is the title of six other movies and several televisions show episodes, maybe you’ve already let go of trying to be original.
When John and Laura Taylor can’t conceive, they seek help from a service that finds them a girl who is perfect. After all if you “look at her eyes, she means it.” Her name is Anna, a lovely young woman who the Taylor’s adore, and when she gets into trouble with her abusive boyfriend (Theo Rossi), they decide to take her in, so oblivious to the red flags, they must literally be wearing rose-colored glasses. It’s not long after that when Anna turns up the heat and transforms from the homely girl-next-door in loose tops and tied back hair into the hyper-sexual vixen in a slinky, plunging, red dress who is about as devilishly subtle as this sentence. Good guy John wants nothing to do with her advances (sure) though and of course that tips the girl over the edge.
The trailer is really predictable and looks to spoil a lot. But that’s not bad. By definition, if it’s predictable then there’s not much to spoil. Directed by Jon Cassar, who is an Emmy-Ward winning director of the television series 24, When The Bough Breaks has, as mentioned, a very distinct TV feel with a movie budget. There is a huge market for this kind of story, a young sexually assertive girl using her body to steal an otherwise unavailable man is a trope dating back to the first cave drawings, and one that’s never going away. When The Bough Breaks recognizes that and fills the gap to the next one, adding maybe a few more bloody bits. Can’t blame the cast as they all look great with each playing up their roles with enthusiasm. It’s always good to see Hall, who consistently turns in great performances. Chestnut has been in the game since 1990 and has the charms and male-model good looks that make him fun to watch. Sinclair, just getting her start is familiar looking, and wears the sultry psycho crown well. Maybe with enough popcorn and cola . . .
When The Bough Breaks opens September 16, 2016
Jack Olsen (screenplay), Jack Olsen
Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall, Jaz Sinclair, Theo Rossi