It’s easy to have missed a film like Not Easily Broken. Its scant one month release in barely more than seven hundred theaters pulled in barely over ten million dollars (though with its modest $5 million budget, it doubled its expenditures in that single month alone). On top of that critical reception of it was poor, with the film sporting a surprisingly low 4.2 on IMDb. Granted that is a bit skewed, but it seems that the general reception of the film is less than favorable, something you wouldn’t necessarily guess based on its box office intake (when weighted with the limited openings, at least).
The path of true love never runs smoothly. Just ask Dave and Clarice Johnson. After many years of marriage, their affection for each other is being severely tested by life. Following a car accident that temporarily sidelines Clarice, the couple must come to grips with physical temptations, financial pressures and emotional challenges that threaten their love for each other. Ultimately, they must determine whether or not their vows are easily broken in this soul-stirring film based on the inspirational best-selling novel by T.D. Jakes.
I’ve only reviewed a few of these Tyler Perry style films and both times I’ve been less than impressed by the results. Not Easily Broken is a particularly annoying effort in the series as there is absolutely nothing original about this film and aside from a smaller family, this could almost be dragged and dropped into any other film in the genre. The family suffers a terrible blow emotionally, the husband and wife drift apart while the husband finds comfort in another woman, only for him to eventually realize the error of his ways and return to the arms of his wife. It’s the same exact plot and there is absolutely zero difference in this film when compared to others.
But, you may say, that’s just the genre. That’s the type of story that the audience for these films (which is obviously not me) has. I can fully understand that, but even when you look at it from that angle, there is zero in this film to actually grip you. You’ve seen it all before, you know how it’s going to end up and just about the only thing you can find exciting about this film is to see which path this movie takes during the course of its hundred minute runtime and how it ends up at the likely conclusion. Sure, they thrown in an additional emotional “twist” at the end for those who aren’t really paying attention, but there was just honestly nothing redeeming about this film in the least for me.
I’m sure there is an audience somewhere for a film that features the most stereotypical of characters and some of the most soap opera style writing I’ve seen in a theatrical release, but man. I don’t know who can really get emotionally invested in a film like this, as there is simply nothing that is redeeming about it. And like a lot of films, it goes for the cheap emotional moments, fueled by the morality of any given situation and backed up by the characters spirituality.
Again, you may ask how that’s a bad thing, but…really. It’s not so much that this film does it any of it wrong, it just doesn’t do anything original. It’s sad to see that talent is wasted on repetitious products and I can really draw a parallel to this and all of the myriad of television shows that cover the same topic. I mean, really, stop to think for a minute how many cop shows there are on network television and you’ll see where I’m coming from on this subject. Very few of those shows are worth watching as they’re all just repeats or retreads of the same subject matter, yet networks churn them out because viewers continue to eat it up.
So yeah, there’s a market for this film and I’m sure those who enjoy the genre will like it just as much as the last entry. But for me I just find nothing compelling about these films. A Rental for the curious only, but the majority can safely skip this one.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has packaged Not Easily Broken in a standard Elite Blu-ray case with very little in terms of extra frills. Included inside is the usual insert that accompanies Sony releases and a generic but simple menu system. Video arrives in the form of a 1.85:1 AVC 1080p transfer that is what you’d expect from a modern effort. Sharp colors, solid detail and solid black levels keep the film an easy delight for the eyes. The included TrueHD 5.1 track is a bit useless as the dialogue driven film keeps to the front channels for the most part, but there is some surround action during the basketball sequences and the like, as well as the films music which tends to spread around the room as well. Also included are English, English SDH, and French subtitles.
Extras are scarce and include a Making Of and a collection of Deleted Scenes. The Making of is the only HD extra (unless you count the included trailers), as the deleted scenes are all standard definition. Neither of the two extra selections are really worth checking out, as the making of runs a scant thirteen minutes and the deleted scenes really add nothing to the overall experience of the film.
In the end the home video release is quite a disappointment as there aren’t even any extras to back up the film. Despite being based on a novel originally, the making-of barely touches upon it and it all just feels very slapped together. As with the film, a Rental only for those curious.
Not Easily Broken arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on April 7th.