The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
"Breakin' All the Rules" combines a romantic comedy, a little mistaken identity and some satire about office politics into one of those genial movies where you know everything is going to turn out all right in the end. The movie depends for its success on the likability of Jamie Foxx, Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union, and because they're funny and pleasant, we enjoy the ride even though the destination is preordained.
Foxx plays Quincy Watson, a writer for Spoils magazine, one of those men's lifestyle books edited for readers who believe they can become rich, successful and well-groomed by studying a magazine. The magazine has fallen upon hard times, and the editor summons Quincy and gives him a list of people to fire. Quincy recoils; he hates the idea of firing anybody. So does Philip the editor (Peter MacNicol), who explains that one of the spoils of being the boss is that you can get other people to do your dirty work.
Rather than fire anyone, Quincy quits. He's depressed, anyway; his fiancee Helen Sharp (Bianca Lawson) has just broken up with him. He starts writing versions of a wounded, angry letter to her and somehow the correspondence grows into a book titled Break Up Handbook, about how to break up with a girl before she can break up with you (danger signal: She says she "wants to have a talk").
Enter Quincy's cousin Evan (Morris Chestnut), a moving target who prides himself on breaking up with girls as a pre-emptive strategy. His girl Nicky (Gabrielle Union) says she wants to have a talk, and to deny her the opportunity of breaking up with him, Evan sends Quincy to a bar to meet her and tell her the relationship is over. Alas, Nicky has cut her hair and doesn't fit Evan's description; Quincy starts talking with her, and soon they're flirting with love. If the hair trick sounds contrived, recall that Shakespeare was not above mistaken identities even more absurd. Not that I hold it against him.