When the Bough Breaks
Distributed by: Screen Gems
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
My friend knows just how much I like to look at Morris Chestnut…such a handsome man with a beautifully sculpted body. I’ve enjoyed both his acting and his beauty since seeing him in The Best Man in 1999. He likes Morris Chestnut, too, though probably more for his acting presence than his physical presence. So, when he got his hands on the DVD copy of When the Bough Breaks, he decided to lend it to me to see what I thought of the film.
In When the Bough Breaks, Morris Chestnut is John Taylor, a high-profile lawyer who is married to a successful chef named Laura (Regina Hall). The couple have been trying to have children for years, but after three miscarriages, Laura has all but given up, feeling less than adequate as a woman for not being able to give John a child. Though John wants children, he is totally in love with and devoted to his wife and can be happy without one, so long as they are together.
When Laura finds a woman interested in becoming a surrogate mother for their child, she is ecstatic. John is happy for Laura, but a little less enthusiastic, finding it hard to believe that someone would be willing…even excited to carry a child for a couple she doesn’t even know. He is even less enthusiastic when Laura invites Anna (Jaz Sinclair) and her boyfriend Mike (Theo Rossi) to dinner at their house. John gets a bad impression of Mike right away after conversing with him alone.
When Anna contacts them after she is attacked by Mike, the Taylors decide to take Anna in, moving her into their pool house for the duration of the pregnancy and slapping Mike with a restraining order as protection. Shouldn’t be much of a problem because Mike is getting deployed to Afghanistan soon, right? Unfortunately, Mike is not the only problem – Anna has become fixated on John. At first the Taylors think it’s a cute crush, but after a while, John begins receiving provocative videos of Jaz and she starts making it known that she wants him.
When John threatens to tell Laura about Anna’s advances, Anna threatens to take off with the baby. John decides to have her investigated and learns that Anna and Mike are not who they seem. In fact, Anna has a bit of a shady past, one that points to abuse and possible psychosis. Things go from bad to worse when Anna disappears with their unborn child. Will John and Laura be able to get their child back, or will Anna do something desperate to make sure no one gets the baby?
You ever start yelling at the screen, annoyed with the stupidity of the main characters in a film? I have and I was doing more of the same throughout this film. Here were two incredibly intelligent people who couldn’t see that there was something very wrong with Anna and Mike. Was it their desperation that made them overlook some things? Sure, I can buy that, but when things start going wrong and you start to learn some disturbing things about this woman, like the fact that this woman is no stranger to killing, I have to start questioning some of your choices. Like this one: In order to make her think you want to be with her, you take Anna to be with you in your cabin in the woods, which just happens have a rifle case, fully stocked. Hello?! Killer who may make off with your child and you put her in a house with guns!
The storyline was a bit played – this has all been done before, but I could live with it if the acting was good. Morris Chestnut was wasted in this film, his character not worthy of the actor portraying him. Regina Hall was terrific, but again, there’s only so much you can do with a lousy script. And then there was the one thing I was looking forward to…if I couldn’t see good acting or enjoy a great storyline, I could at least see Morris’ body in action, right? Wrong! Even in the scene in which he is having sex with Laura, you only see Laura’s back and none of Morris…not even a glimpse at that gorgeous chest of his. You can’t see it, but I am shaking my head as I type this – what a waste!
The only moment when I found the film was getting really good was the all too predictable moment in which Laura has finally had enough of Anna. Predictable and way too late in the film to be of any consequence. I wasted a good hour and a half of my life watching When the Bough Breaks and I must caution you not to do the same.