Continuing his middle aged slide into cinematic mediocrity, the once-brilliant Steve Martin again frustrates and alienates old fans with his new film “Bringing Down the House,” a painfully unfunny take on the played-out white/black “odd-couple” formula. Long gone are the days of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder teaming up for classics like “Silver Streak;” now we’re stuck with the fading Martin and surprise Oscar contender Queen Latifah (“Chicago”).

Todd Weiser
Courtesy of Touchstone

Martin plays divorced tax attorney Peter Sanderson, a typical slice of workaholic suburban white bread still pining away for his ex. Desperate to start dating again, he meets what he thinks is a blonde, Ivy League-educated female lawyer in a chat room and strikes up an online romance.

That’s right, you guessed it – it’s actually Queen Latifah as Charlene Morton, a recently escaped convict looking for help in clearing her name of armed robbery charges she didn’t commit.

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