A man looking for a woman just like himself ends up with someone quite different in this farcical comedy. Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a lawyer who is having trouble getting his life back on track after his wife, Kate (Jean Smart),… More A man looking for a woman just like himself ends up with someone quite different in this farcical comedy. Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a lawyer who is having trouble getting his life back on track after his wife, Kate (Jean Smart), divorces him; he's also adjusting to his new status as a single father. Looking for companionship, Peter tries an internet dating site and virtually meets "lawyer-girl," an attractive and single fellow attorney. Peter makes a date with her, but the woman who arrives at his door turns out to be Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah), who not only isn't a lawyer, she turns out to be an escaped convict. Charlene is also a brash and brassy African-American, while Peter is perhaps the most tightly wound white guy in L.A. Charlene explains to Peter that she's strung him along because she's innocent of the crime for which she was convicted, and she needs a top-notch attorney to help prove her case. Peter isn't the least bit interested at first, but Charlene isn't the sort of woman to take "no" for an answer, and in time she wears him down and agrees to help. As Charlene moves into Peter's home, she helps him to loosen up and unleash his inner groove, which quite surprises Kate, and her down-to-earth advice comes in handy for Peter's son and daughter. But Charlene may end up going too far when Peter is asked to entertain Mrs. Arness (Joan Plowright), a wealthy woman looking for a new law firm. Bringing Down the House also features Eugene Levy as Howie, one of Peter's friends who takes a keen interest in Charlene, and Betty White as one of Peter's neighbors.
Consensus: Though the cast shines, they can't save this comedy, which is overly contrived and filled with outdated and offensive racial jokes.