Modeled heavily on Sex and the City (problem #1) and set in West Hollywood (problem #2), the cancelled Noah’s Arc cable series followed the same-gender-loving Negro lives and loves of twentysomething struggling screenwriter Noah and his three older, if not always wiser, friends: Ricky, Chance, and Alex. Like the cinematic version of its maternal root, the Noah’s Arc film, Jumping the Broom, centers on the bumpy road to marriage—an especially timely subject to which the film brings heavy-handed polemics, teary bust-ups and reconciliations, and lots of slapstick comedy, but no real insight or depth. After settling on Martha’s Vineyard for the upcoming bougie-fabulous wedding of Wade and Noah, the fellas are put through the paces of addiction; schoolboy crushes; cheating hearts; familial homophobia; lectures on AIDS, adoption, and African babies; and the reappearance of a certain queer British rapper. And that’s just for starters. It’s a wearying checklist that would be daunting even in the hands of a more talented filmmaker than series creator (and Jumping the Broom director/co-writer) Patrik-Ian Polk. While there are some solid chuckles scattered throughout the film, Polk’s heavy-handed political sloganeering is lifted straight from pamphlets, while his character development and plotting are clumsy and filled with holes. The ensemble acting is, putting it kindly, wildly uneven. Worst of all for a project that’s always confused designer labels for social awareness and political progress, Polk lacks the visual skills to pull us into the film’s fetishizing of the so-called good life.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 22, 2008