It’s safe to say that Screen Gems thinks they have cornered the market on romantic thrillers. Much like previous films the studio has released (Obsessed, No Good Deed and last year’s The Perfect Guy), When the Bough Breaks stays true to the typical formulaic plot.
The movie stars Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall as John and Laura, a happily married couple who share an idyllic life. The only thing missing from their world is a child and they both have a strong desire to be parents. After failing to conceive the couple decide to hire a surrogate named Anna, played by newcomer Jaz Synclair.
Everything is wonderful at first, but trouble quickly ensues as Anna becomes fixated on John and obsessed with the life he and Laura live.
This movie falls a part almost from the get-go, which is unfortunate because both Chestnut and Hall are seasoned actors deserving of much better roles. While they are believable and endearing as a happily married couple, they just aren’t given much to do in this movie. Most of their scenes are the same conversation over and over. There is a constant reiteration of things we already understand, such as the desperation they both feel to have a child.
It is said desperation that leads them to Anna and is probably the reason why they overlook so many telling signs. At no point do they ask the young woman about her background or her family. John and Laura welcome Anna into their lives and their home knowing nothing about her. I found that aspect to be highly unrealistic as they are both intelligent professionals and fairly affluent.
The biggest disappointment in this film is the lack of suspense and action. Despite the marketing and the thrilling trailers (which I was foolishly impressed with), Bough is missing any sense of anticipation. Every time we’re supposed to be on the edge of our seat, we’re left hanging.
Moreover, this is a film that is largely bland and missing any vibrancy or color (no pun intended!). Bough is set in New Orleans, which is of course world-renowned for its flavorful food and upbeat culture, yet none of that is reflected or even mentioned here.
Jaz Synclair and Regina Hall in When the Bough Breaks
While the cast is surely talented, there really is nothing very special about this film. I suggest that you wait for this one to hit RedBox or at the very least go and see it on a lazy rainy afternoon when you have nothing else to do.
When the Bough Breaks also stars Romany Malco, Michael K. Williams, Glen Morshower, and Theo Rossi. It is currently in theaters!