I wanted to love this movie. I really did. I love Tyler Perry: I think he's a fabulous writer and brilliant businessman. I love Gabrielle Union: I think she's a classy lady and amazing actress. I love Thandie Newton: she's gorgeous, and can act her ass off! I love Phylicia Rashad (who doesn't), and I love to see a majority-black cast in movies (it's still rare, what can I say?) But THIS particular movie...I didn't love it.
I had to see it on opening day for a few reasons: 1) To support the box-office cause (and yes, I still purchase CDs in the store too). 2) To avoid being tainted by the reviews and feedback of others...kinda like I'm doing to you right now. 3) Because Tyler Perry has the ability to inspire, and tell a hell of a story...usually. And I was ready for it!
But when the movie ended and the credits began to roll...I did the 1-minute-look-at-the-screen-with-a-blank-stare like..."oooooook?" Now what. Unfulfilled. I was expecting some fireworks! Some secret-dropping, face-slapping, wife-cussing, tears-flying, nose-running, hearts-breaking, crowds-cheering...you know. The good old fashioned Tyler Perry DRAMA! Helllur??
You've seen the other movies. For Colored Girls. Why Did I Get Married. Daddy's Little Girls. Don't make me call Madea's name and bring up her crazy ass. But Tyler Perry usually comes with it! Hard!
That being said, the acting itself was wonderful. Thandie Newton is no joke. The woman can act. Gabrielle is always on point. Always great to see "Claire Huxtable" on the big screen, in any role. The little girl in the film (Jordenn Thompson) basically made the story worthwhile to me. So cute.
The other stars were cool: Rebecca Romijin, Eddie Cibrian, and wait...Jamie Kennedy was in this movie? Wow. (I just discovered that when looking up the IMDb spelling of "Romijin.") Who knew? Guess he's unidentifiable without the jokes.
Brian White...so not feeling him. I don't know if it's the characters he plays, but something about him is ultra-annoying. While his character provided the over-the-top dramatic antics, his uber-acting and "evil-villain" glares were too distracting. I know Tyler Perry is a firm believer in recycling actors in his movies...this is one guy he needs to take off the loyalty roster (shuddering as I remember him in I Can Do Bad All By Myself).
The plot? Decent. Honestly. And if I was Tyler Perry, I'd come out with a movie or two a year JUST BECAUSE too. Because aside from Oprah and U2, he's the highest grossing entertainer on the Forbes list. Because he's got a ready-made guaranteed audience from the stage to the big screen. Because any mainstream motion picture featuring an a prominently black cast is worth supporting, and worth circulating. Because he's keeping the faces visible, the black actors working, the story lines pleasant and motivating, and keeping himself current. Because he always has a story to tell. Always.
So by default, I give Tyler a bly. I have to love him. I have to support him, and I have to appreciate that even though the movie didn't have the WOW factor with babies dropping out of windows and audiences stomping feet to cheer like we've seen from Perry in the past...it was still essentially a good story. I guess what's happened here is that Mr. Perry has set the bar soooo high...that he can't always top it.
This one wasn't his best (and neither was Meet the Browns, for the record...yikes!) but I have enough faith in the longevity and continued impact of Mr. Perry's career that I will still continue to be an admirer of his. In fact, I'm still debating checking out his upcoming Madea tour in the closest American city I can get to (and believe me, I once flew to Chicago just to see him perform live. I'll do it again!)
It was just another movie, with a lovely and endearing conclusion. Some character epiphanies. Smiles and good cheer. I get where he was coming from. I get the characters, and their intentions, their flaws, their struggles, their self-understanding, and their inevitable redemption. All of the fundamentals of a good story were there.
God bless him. And God bless the wonderfully inspiring tribute he did at Whitney's funeral.
I'm sure his next movie will be a hit. And believe me, the next one has probably already been filmed, and is just waiting to drop. And THIS is why I love Tyler Perry and will watch anything he does (except for his TV shows...yikes!). Because he's a hustler.