Tyler Perry. Most people either love his work or despise it. One will usually find precious little gray area when it comes to how people feel about his stage productions and movies.
Fans adore his 6”5, gun-toting, weed-smoking, bible-misquoting Madea; while non-fans roundly criticize him for everything from being overly preachy, to portraying black women overall in a negative light.
In “Why Did I Get Married Too?,” Madea’s wackiness might actually have been a welcome addition, as the film often skews darker than Perry’s typical comedy fare.
The four couples convene for their usual couples’ retreat, this time in the Bahamas. At first blush, everyone looks impossibly happy, colorful and well-coiffed. But simmering just beneath the surface in each of the marriages is all manner of marital discord and mental imbalance.
Sure, Angela (played by Tasha Smith) often elicits laugh-out-loud moments as the wine-slurping, neck-jerking, foul-mouthed and overly suspicious wife of former NFL star Marcus (played by Michael Jai White). But she seems to carry the lion’s share of the load for comedy relief.
The majority of the other characters seem to be eyebrow deep in things much heavier than who is cheating, who is withholding sexual favors from whom, and why Sheila’s (Jill Scott) ex-husband Mike (Richard T. Jones) showed up at the time-share now that Sheila has a hunky new spouse (Lamman Rucker).
We witness disturbing domestic violence this time around, a shocking divorce and a little bit of terminal illness all thrown in for good measure.
And the expression “physician, heal thyself” seems quite appropriate when a certain best-selling author, professor and relationship expert played by R&B superstar Janet Jackson experiences a complete and utter meltdown.
She has said in various interviews that she did not have to reach far to portray that desperate, crazy mental state, due to the film’s production beginning soon after the tragic and sudden loss of her superstar brother, Michael Jackson.
But Tyler Perry’s own acting falls terribly short. His portrayal of Terry, a successful doctor and faithful husband whose wife is either working around the clock to avoid intimacy with him, or having an emotional affair with another man, is stilted and less-than-believable.
The film’s high points are likely the music soundtrack and the scenery at the lush beachside retreat in the Bahamas. Other than those, and pretty strong acting turned in by Jackson and fellow R&B star Jill Scott, the movie is less-than-remarkable.
As is his way, Perry concludes the film with neat little happy endings all around (well, almost all around) and his not-so-hidden morality lessons. So per usual, Perry fans will love this movie, and non-fans – well, they won’t.