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Not Easily Broken

Flawed delivery mutes this film's inspirational message

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One hates to dump on a movie that has its heart in the right place -- one that encourages steadiness; goal-setting; the value of friends, family, marriage and spirituality; and physical fitness. But Bill Dukes' inspirational dramedy, adapted from Rev. T.D. Jakes' novel, generated more laughs and catcalls from the audience than tears and heartfelt "amens." The marriage of Dave (Morris Chestnut) and Clarice (Taraji P. Henson) is getting' wobbly -- and it's decidedly not helped by a car accident that puts another hurtin' on the couple's lack of communication. It does bring in the world's nastiest mother-in-law (Jennifer Lewis), whom viewers found nearly as funny as the intended comic relief: Kevin Hart, portraying a blithering hen-pecked husband. Jakes' works are meant as stealth sermons, to get you thinking about living better, but Broken just had me ticking off the clichés, groaning at bad dialogue and disbelieving all the tidy resolutions.

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