Movie Reviews

Movie Review: When the Bough Breaks (2016)


**Summary: John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall) are a young, professional couple who desperately want a baby. After exhausting all other options, they finally hire Anna (Jaz Sinclair), the perfect woman to be their surrogate – but as she gets further along in her pregnancy, so too does her psychotic and dangerous fixation on the husband. The couple becomes caught up in Anna’s deadly game and must fight to regain control of their future before it’s too late.
Cast and Characters. I personally didn’t find these characters very “anything special” but because the actors are good in their roles. It’s parts of the characters I found silly.
  • Morris Chestnut as John Taylor. He’s a lawyer trying to make partner in his firm, he’s against using Anna in the beginning as their surrogate, he wanted to keep looking but he loves his wife so he trusts her judgement. Chestnut is always fine (lol pun intended) and he was. His character was probably the only one I could take seriously. He was the only smart one.
  • Regina Hall as Laura Taylor. She’s a chef, who has come a long way from Scary Movie, but she’s eager to choose Anna to be the surrogate and she’s the one who I blame. John wasn’t sure about her but Laura got caught up in the “Shyness” of Anna that they agree to work with her, which in a way makes sense, she’s a woman who desperately wants to be a mother and this young woman has charmed her. Hall plays that well, someone who wants this so badly she is willing to listen to someone spin a story and believe it. Also she looked great in that red dress.
  • Jaz Sinclair as Anna Walsh. I liked her for the most part, I didn’t mind her that is. She is definitely beautiful but there were parts of me that couldn’t take her seriously. Looks too young to be trying to play “sexy”, I don’t know if that’s the point or not but meh. There’s other problems with the character, which I appreciate them trying to push in there outside of just being “crazy” but… I’ll get to that later. She plays shy and nice pretty well, and she plays scary pretty well too and as her first lead role, I’ll give her a thumbs up.
Cinematography/Sets. The movie looked really nice, the way it was filmed was very crisp and clean and the sets were also beautiful. The Taylor’s house was beautiful and I had a touch of house envy… (Screen Gems loves to make these types of movies and their houses are all big like this, nothing wrong that but just saying, it’s a trend). The lake house visited later is also beautiful, the location around the house was shown enough to be pretty. It’s set in New Orleans and we see a touch of Mardi Gras but that’s about it.
The title. I thought it was kind of cool, it didn’t hit me till my friend started singing the nursery rhyme before the movie but they of course played the song and used it creepily in the film.
Cliche and Predictable. The problem with movies like this is that there are so many of them that if you don’t do something new, it’s old, stale and annoying. There are some elements that are “new” including the “surrogate” thing and another addition to Anna’s character that I don’t want to spoil. There were a lot of things that I said “oh this is going to happen…” and it did. It’s because I’ve seen it many times before.
  • Screen Gems is the studio who put this out and I knew that name was familiar and it’s because they did Obsessed, No Good Deed and The Perfect Guy. Which none of those films I particularly liked very much, they’re all predictable and lame. The actors in them (minus Beyonce as she’s not an actor to me) are people I like and will see movies in them if they’re not the same type of story recycled but boy these people know what they’re doing and we just keep going to see the same movie repeatedly. Well, I didn’t pay for Obsessed, but the other three (including When the Bough Breaks) I did.
Mark Mitchell. He’s Anna’s boyfriend in the film and that dude was terrible. The acting was over the top and campy, every time he was on screen past his first scene, I was irritated with him. It was like the director him “make the creepiest face you can” and every time he was in a scene, he tried outdo his last creepy face scene and it didn’t work for me.
Stupidity. Why in movies like this, do characters always have these big houses with 50 million windows? Or why does everyone follow the noise they hear? Or don’t ever call the police? Or actually believe what are obviously lies? I mean I know it’s a movie but at some point the stupidity is annoying.
No Suspense. I didn’t find it suspenseful, as opposed to movies like No Good Deed or even Obsession. Anytime Anna’s character would look creepily from behind bushes, or a window, I didn’t wonder what she was going to do next. Anytime, the music would build as someone is about to see something, or something’s about to happen to them, I was just like meh. Which is unfortunate as the movie builds as a suspenseful “thriller”.
The Dialogue. Oh my goodness. Too many stupid lines that I just couldn’t ignore. Morris Chestnut has this horrible little “monologue” he says to his wife near the beginning of the movie and I couldn’t help but to laugh at how silly it sounded. The dialogue was pretty consistently bad.
The Romance Factor. I’m trying not to spoil anything, even though part of me doesn’t care enough to keep trying BUT outside of what seems like a solid marriage with Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut, the whole thing with Anna falling in love with John was just stupid. At first I thought it was going to be a trick to get their money (which honestly would have been a better twist) but then it turned into the typical sending sexy video messages, calling over and over, showing up at his job, trying to make sure his wife doesn’t come to important meetings etc and it just irritated me. They could have done something else!
The Crazy. Again, they tried to give Anna reasons to be crazy but considering how things turned out, it just started getting annoying. Also, lol we know she’s about to turn up the crazy because she changes her hairstyle, which was very cute. I had hair envy.
Missed Opportunity. I was a bit miffed at the fact that in the last third, there’s a few scenes where I feel like Laura should have been more involved. It’s after Anna sees John and Laura together and she really loses her mind, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I understand they didn’t want things to go too bad because Anna was pregnant, but after giving birth, I feel like Laura should have gotten a chance outside of her one moment at the very end. In all their other movies, the women got to kick some butt. I guess they wanted to give that honor to the man this time? lol
The Ending. Ugh. Just ugh.
Overall, whatever. The movie wasn’t very good to me, I enjoyed it I guess, just because it’s mostly ridiculously funny and there are some pretty good parts but the bad outweighs the good as you can see here. I think Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall are both too good for this movie and it’s kind of unfortunate that Jaz Sinclair’s “breakout” role is in this film. I hope she gets better roles in the future. I love to see black movies but can we stop with this type of subject matter? We’ve had four movies now that are the exact same film, just with slightly different elements. If there’s going to be a thriller, give us a real suspense thriller. No Good Deed was the best out of all of them.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (I feel like I’m being generous though).
**Summary from IMbD

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