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Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a workaholic tax attorney corresponding with an online friend known only as "lawyer-girl." On their first blind date, Peter learns that "lawyer-girl" is Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah), a plus-sized, wrongfully convicted bank robber claiming her innocence who wants Peter's help in getting the charges dropped. Peter also must deal with Virginia Arness (Joan Plowright), an eccentric billionaire, to bring her business to his firm, as well as competitive colleagues and bosses. His neighbor, Mrs. Kline (Betty White), who happens to be a sister of one of the senior partners, is a nosy bigot. Peter attempts to juggle these issues as well as reconcile with his estranged wife (Jean Smart) and children (Kimberly J Brown and Angus T Jones).
On a budget of $35 million the film became a surprise hit. It earned $132.6 million in the United States and an international gross of $32 million, bringing its worldwide gross to $164.6 million. As of March 2009, it is ranked #231 of the All Time Top Grossing USA Motion Pictures.
Provides examples of:
- BBW: Queen Latifah
- Cat Fight: Missi Pyle vs Queen Latifah
- Chekhov's Gun: Charlene's tendency to keep things in her bra.
- Engineered Public Confession: Knowing they would probably check him for a wire, Peter brings a boom box into the back room of the club. When Widow tells him to shut it off, he hits record instead of stop.
- Jive Turkey: Steve Martin does it.
- Magical Negro: Charlene swoops into Peter's life and loosens him up.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Again, Charlene's effect on Peter.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Queen Latifah pretending to be the servant.
- Beyond that, she's demonstrated that she's just as capable at acting "white bread" and "W.A.S.P."-y as Peter and his associates, but that's not who she is.
- Pocket Protector: Charlene survives a bullet when it hits the cell phone she's been keeping in her bra.
- For Clarification, The cell phone was ((titanium?)) cased, which explains why it worked [a plastic cellphone case would not have stopped the bullet]
- Racist Grandma: The next door neighbor (played by Betty White).
- Sassy Black Woman: Guess.
- Scary Black Man: Widow (Queen Latifah's ex)
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Peter starts the film with neglecting his family to keep his career afloat.
- Where Da White Women At?: Peter's friend Howie (Eugene Levy) immediately falls for "that cocoa goddess" the second he sees Charlene. Several characters also accuse Peter of having "Jungle Fever" when they see him with her.
- Howie and Charlene do indeed get together at the end. Howie tells Peter to tell Charlene for him that "the cool points are out the window and she's got him all twisted up in his game." Peter gives Charlene the message, and says that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to her.
- Why Do You Hate the Dog?: Peter as the Middle Aged White Guy and Charlene as the dog.