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Movie Review

"Don't take your love away from me/Don't you leave my heart in misery/If you go then I'll be blue/'Cause breakin' up is hard to do." Neil Sedaka might have gotten the mood just right when he sang that song, but Quincy Watson has figured out a way to prove him wrong by making the pain just up and disappear.

After getting dumped by his model girlfriend, Helen, Q (that's what his pals call him) writes a manual on how to end relationships gracefully. He writes about what to wear, what to say, what locations should—and shouldn't—be used, and how to get on with the next fling.

Soon Q has been branded a self-help guru. His scribbled manuscript is selling like crazy. He's doing the talk-show circuit. He's raking in the cash. And he's miserable and alone. He's still not over Helen. At least not until he falls for his cousin Evan's girl, Nicky. Q's psychobabble won't help much when Evan finds out!

Positive Elements

The illustration rambles and takes a few bizarre turns, but it's hinted that love should be a sacrificial thing of substance rather than an emotional maelstrom. While not intentionally trying to spare a generation of jilted lovers' feelings, Q's book promotes letting down significant others gently. Ostensibly it's to prevent stalking and retaliation, but the end result also communicates a modicum of genuine compassion.

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

The film opens with Q and Helen settling in to sleep together after they've slept together. Evan (or E) carries on an affair with an engaged woman who he thinks is one of Q's groupies. (She not, but she does think he's Q.) The woman he's running around with considers emotional manipulation an aphrodisiac and uses sexual titillation to try to get a rich man to marry her. (Onscreen she kisses him and rubs his crotch with her foot.) Several make-out sessions between various couples are seen. Nicky and Q tell each other their favorite sexual fantasies. Afterwards it's implied they have sex. Sly references are made to S&M and prostitution.

When Q tells his friends he's going to propose to Helen, they joke about how boring it's going to be for him to sleep with the same woman for the rest of his life. Outfits reveal cleavage and midriffs. One woman is seen in her bra and panties. Much worse than that, though, is a running gag involving an elderly man continually asking Nicky to fondle his privates. (He uses crude slang each time he propositions her.) Once, he grabs her hand and tries to place it on his crotch. In another scene he removes a towel from around his waist and exposes himself to her.

Violent Content

E slaps Q two times. Later Q slaps him back. Q gets knocked down. Q's boss overturns a table and weakly tries to hit him, but fails to do much damage. Q bites his own hand to see if he can draw blood. He slams into a wall while running alongside a train. (Is it even possible to make a slapstick comedy anymore without that happening at least once?) Q and his boss have a conversation about disgruntled ex-employees who come back to the office to kill their bosses.

Crude or Profane Language

Three or four s-words. Raunchy terms are used for male and female anatomy. Mild profanity includes quite a few uses of "a--," "d--n" and "h---." God's name is interjected improperly several times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

At separate times E, Q and Helen all try to drown their sorrows in a bottle of whiskey. Each time, Helen's pug is given some, and he gets drunk along with the humans. A couple of characters smoke. Drinks are downed at a bar.

Other Negative Elements

The pug urinates on the floor to show his distaste for Q. He also vigorously licks himself and breaks wind. After the pug bites Helen, she tells Q to have him put down. Instead, he gets a half-dozen more pugs from the shelter and sics them on her. E grabs at his testicles, complaining that they hurt. (Across town Nicky is getting her hair cut—something E doesn't want her to do—and the filmmakers use visual cues to indicate that her actions are "putting the squeeze" on him.)


If, in a moment of cinematically induced weakness, you decide to disregard the better part of wisdom—disdaining the $7 or $8 you'll need to do so—and go to see Breakin' All the Rules, and if you manage to stay awake all the way through to the final credits, you'll witness one of the loopiest, obviously plot-manufactured activities you've ever seen in a romantic comedy: A man bites through the skin of his own hand to prove to the girl of his dreams that he does indeed truly love her. Blood literally drips from his thumb as the two kiss and embrace! Hmmm. Is it love or is it horror? Neither. It's just boring.

When this film's not boring, it's blithely reprobate. Dirty old men are supposed to be cute. Sex is an expected dating ritual. And intoxicated dogs (and their human comrades) have all the fun. Love is a game here, and the only way to win is to cheat. Or in the vernacular of the movie, break all the rules.

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Jamie Foxx as Quincy; Morris Chestnut as Evan; Gabrielle Union as Nicky; Peter MacNicol as Philip; Jennifer Esposito as Rita; Bianca Lawson as Helen


Daniel Taplitz ( )


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Steven Isaac

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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