Directed by: Tyler Perry Cast: Tyler Perry, Michael Jai White, Janet Jackson, Jill Scott Running Time: 2 hrs Rating: PG-13 Release Date: April 2, 2010
PLOT: Four couples come face their marital problems when they return from a tropical getaway.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Anyone who has seen a Tyler Perry movie before knows what to expect - the funnier aspects of dysfunction are used to hook the audience in, but once they're settled in with the help of goofy characters, they are subjected to long strains of melodrama.
How can I trust Tyler Perry when he keeps pulling these sneaky subplot tricks on me? It’s almost hypocritical to the heart of his own movie, which should not be called Why Did I Get Married Too? but instead “How Do I Stay Married, Again?”
In the first half it felt like Perry was onto something – the tone was as relaxing as the beach house setting in which the marital shenanigans (good and bad) took place. The overall decent performances felt natural, especially when the guys were verbally jabbing each other with dialogue that was likely improvised. Even the dramatic low points, which one figures later on were just seeds for the sequoia-size dysfunction that spurts up when the couples all return to Atlanta, were able to be swallowed.
But when Perry brings the cast back to their tres chic houses and rarely discussed children, it gets even worse. He proves once again that his melodrama is always starved for a shock. His writing thrives in following up some corny emotional surprise with a loud confrontation that typically explodes into some form of violence (Madea solves her problems the same way, but that’s “comedy,” and this, technically, isn’t.) The “wrong person” opens the door, or the neighbor says something that creates even more suspicion – all of this leads Perry’s trusting audience down a pot-hole ridden path for which Perry can only offer ridiculous subplots as explanations - if he bothers to properly resolve his problems at all.
Though one would think a director like Perry would want to give attention to closure as much as the chaos that rips everything open in the first place, this is not the case. He has little indifference in sweeping things under the rug, no matter how much emotion he wants us to invest in a serious discussion about fidelity, etc. This further adds fantasy to the observed marital problems that are already plagued by drastic overreactions.
Speaking of the word fantasy – perhaps I am delusional. Perhaps Perry will only stick to making melodramas that are as cheesy and thin as a Kraft single. But maybe one day he will use his fluctuating powers and combine them with those of his continually promising acting talent to produce something truly remarkable for the exact same audience. This might happen with his adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Was Enuf,” which already has Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Mariah Carey, Kerry Washington, and Loretta Divine on board. Even if this new film is not the blessing I’m hoping it will be, Perry still has the ability to make even a mainstream comedy/drama about marriage, one that doesn’t resort to cheap cheese tactics in the emotional moments that matter most.
Those who continually return to Perry’s TV/film empire with great faith, and are only given hammed up sermons about life, love, and forgiveness, are certainly deserving of a piece from Perry about humans that has actual soulful value.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10