When The Bough Breaks (2016) Review: Mild Suburban Nightmare.
Sometimes, when reviewing a movie, you have to take into account its quality, versus how much it entertained you. Several times I’m sitting in the cinema and a movie that I know has paper thin characters, exposition a mile long, obvious motivations and a distinct lack of subtlety, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. So, even if a movie is technically bad, does it still deserve a good review if I enjoyed myself? I’m inclined to say yes. A review does judge a movie, but it does so for the purpose of relating the experience of watching it for the potential audience member.
John and Laura Taylor, played by Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall, have reached a point where most people would be satisfied. They have a big house, nice car, and the type of ‘ride or die’ relationship that makes most people say “goals”. Unfortunately, Laura can’t get pregnant, so the one thing they want is what they can’t have. But, whoever said money wasn’t the key to happiness, clearly had the wrong attitude, since the Taylors try and buy their paradise through a surrogate mother.
Too bad that surrogate mother turns out to be a violent psychopath with tremendous boundaries issues.
Basically, ‘When The Bough Breaks’ is like a lifetime movie that starts out with the perfect life, only for something to go horribly wrong, bringing the idea of suburban paradise crashing down. The way it comes crashing down is usually cartoonish, unrealistic, but endlessly entertaining and this movie is no different. Its worst crime is being predictable, which sort of kills the suspense of it all.
On the one hand, the lead up has all the elements you need to establish the groundwork for a spectacular, bloody and amped up finale. However, if the finale is exactly what you expect, without the necessary twists and turns to keep you interested, it’ll just feel flat. Often times watching ‘When The Bough Breaks’ I was bored. Waiting for the wild shoe that never dropped.
Performance wise, it’s full of cheesy over the top acting, but it’s so reserved. Regina Hall constantly has her traumatised face, like she’s remembering something she did while off fighting the war, but she’s otherwise not very engaging when she’s on screen. Even Anna, the surrogate mother, played by Jaz Sinclair, who should have been the commanding presence in the movie, isn’t dreadfully entertaining even when she goes full knife-wielding psycho.
Morris Chestnut is probably the most engaging character in this thing, and that’s mostly because of his wardrobe. He wears these bold colourful suits that change scene to scene that are distracting, especially when there’s an obvious break in continuity but still, at least it was fun to think about how on point this character’s suit game was.
Having said that, I did have fun with the movie. I expected it to be the sort of b movie melodrama that it was. I only wish it was more melodramatic. If you’re at home and you want to watch something with some mild thrills, maybe with a friend or two, then see ‘When The Bough Breaks’. You’ll probably get some laughs. I just don’t think it’s a movie I’ll think about a week from now.
Rating: Catch It On Cable
Rating Since Watching ‘Unforgettable’ (2017): Half Price