ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Bringing Down the House (2003), PG-13
Analysis Date: February 22, 2003
CAP Score: 34
CAP Influence Density: 1.75

MinMax: -100

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE (PG-13) -- Hardcore R-13.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy
Production: Bungalow 78 Productions, Hyde Park Entertainment, Kushner-Locke Company
Distribution: Buena Vista Pictures, Touchstone Pictures
Director(s): Adam Shankman
Producer(s): Ashok Amritraj, Jane Bartelme, Cookie Carosella, David Hoberman, Queen Latifah, Todd Lieberman
Written by/Screenplay: Jason Filardi
Cinematography/Camera: Julio Macat
Music: Lalo Schifrin
Film Editing: Gerald B. Greenberg
Casting: Victoria Thomas
Production Design: Linda DeScenna
Art Direction: James Nedza
Viewed At: AMC - Hulen, Fort Worth, Texas

Lawyer Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a lonely divorcee. He is looking for some company in his empty social life. Peter starts up a relationship by email with Charlene (Queen Latifah), whom Peter believes to be a white blond woman of social refine who seems to be quite knowledgeable in legal matters. What a find! Speaking of finds, Peter even finds what he believes to be her attorney-looking picture on the Internet in a news item. Eventually they agree to meet and Peter is ready to fill his emptiness with companionship and compassion.

Charlene arrives at Peter's door one evening as he preps himself for a session of wooing and cooing to find that Charlene is not the woman he thought she was. He thought she was the blond woman of some importance in the foreground of the news photo when Charlene was the one in the background being arrested and handcuffed. Charlene tells Peter she is not guilty of the crime for which she was arrested and for which she did time in prison. Indeed, Charlene wants Peter to expunge her record of all guilt.

Not believing Charlene, Peter does his best to be rid of Charlene and Charlene does her best to convince Peter he must take her case. Much of the comedy hijinks happen in the battles between Peter and Charlene as she relentlessly coerces him to take her case. She is in and out of his house. Dozens of her friends and acquaintances are in and out of his house. And all the time, the sister of Peter's boss, Mrs. Kline (Betty White) is watching from across the street, reporting to his boss what she sees. Along for the ride, sexually, is Peter's co-worker Howie Rosenthal (Eugene Levy) who frequently makes sexual innuendo comments about Charlene, trying to convince her he is her man, hitting on her every time they are together.

Charlene claims she has been framed as a convenience store armed robbery. After doing time for the crime she claims she did not do, her focus was to use Peter to expunge her record of the crime and clear her name. But the store video says she is lying.

Since Bringing Down the House has just been available once as a sneak preview, I will not offer much detail about the plot and storyline as I typically do. But I will tell you, mom/dad, what you came to know.

While there is a little clean comedy in the movie, most of the comedy is sexual and toilet humor. This is another R-13. Hardcore R-13. It presents episodes of humor such as Latifah mounting the crotch of Martin (both clothed) and bouncing him silly to teach him how to be sexually aggressive for his wife. Martin deposits fruit in his pants to boast of sexual power [Eph. 5:4]. Sexual innuendo and sex talk is rampant. Latifah encourages Peter's young son who has a reading disability to read using a porn magazine [Luke 17:2]. Latifah in her high-slit skirt and another woman in a translucent near-thong bathing suit fight and modesty is not a concern. When Latifah hangs the other woman up on a hook atop a door, the woman might as well have been wearing nothing from the waste down. Dance and other motions to emulate sexual intercourse were frequent. Martin grabs and holds Latifah's breasts at her request. [Rev. 22:15] And these are but a few of the sexual ignominies in Bringing Down the House.

There is also teen arrogance toward and disregard of parental authority by Peter's teen daughter sneaking out at night [Exod. 20:12] to go to a teen drinking party [Matt. 25:40, Col. 3:6]. The writers make no consequences appear the proper way to address the girl's defiance [Eccl. 8:11]. An elderly lady is given illegal drugs to consume to make her a better, more rounded and likable person. The elderly lady's pet dog is seen with dildos in its mouth.

There are a lot more moral and ethical assaults in Bringing Down the House. Please read the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before considering whether to let your teens watch this movie and before you consider watching it yourself. It is a perfect example of violation of Ps. 12:8 and Jude 4.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs [the animals], those [unforgiven] who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
  • Exod. 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
  • Col. 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: [Disobedience: obstinate opposition to the divine will. Note also that "children" does not always mean the young.]
  • Eccl. 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. [Though sneaking out is not necessarily a "crime" to man's law, it is to God's.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.


    Bringing Down the House (2003) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • gambling
  • assault '
  • lengthy fighting
  • planning crime, twice
  • torture
  • threat with firearm to face/head, repeatedly
  • threat to kill, twice
  • firearm to intimidate/control

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 30 use of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • racial insults, repeatedly
  • lies, frequent
  • insults to father, repeatedly
  • teen girls sneaking out at night
  • pretense of honor to parent
  • massive tattoo
  • no consequences for disobedience

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • sexual innuendo, talk, comments, repeatedly
  • adult in underwear
  • crotch kick
  • tale of cohabitation
  • scant swimwear
  • sexual maneuvers
  • suggestive eye movement
  • sexual approach, repeatedly
  • revealing swimwear, repeatedly
  • child reading porn magazine, repeatedly
  • female fighting in scant dress
  • homosexual insult
  • sexual intercourse motions, repeatedly
  • rub dancing
  • inappropriate touch (man grabbing and holding woman's breasts)
  • vulgar displays, i.e., of intercourse
  • fruit in pants to simulate sexual power
  • dildos in dog's mouth
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure
  • pelvic thrusts
  • dance moves to emulate intercourse
  • "sugar daddy" activities

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • teen drinking
  • contributing to the delinquency of a minor - alcohol
  • drunkenness, repeatedly
  • teen drinking party
  • smoking
  • consumption of illegal drugs
  • drug intoxication

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • four uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive
  • "See you in my next life"
  • coaching a child to lie
  • using the Lord to fabricate a lie, twice
  • demonstrating that participation in sinful behavior makes one a better, more likable, rounded person

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme/plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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