Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) is a glorious resource for information on all things movies and since I am in the business of movies, sort of, it’s a resource I use everyday.  The IMDB also has a little rating system where regular folks like you and me can click on a number of stars, from 1 to ten, to tell what we thought of some particular movie, and not that I paid much to the IMDB rating system in the first place but the rating for the movie ‘Why Did I Get Married’ has truly exposed the rating system to be truly worthless.  The rating for this movie is a 3.0 which is rock bottom low.  For example ‘Basic Instinct 2’ has a 3.4,  same as ‘Van Wilder 2’, Batman and Robin has a 3.8, Johnny Mnemonic has an amazingly high 4.7 rating.  So this would lead one to believe that ‘Why Did I get Married’ is worst than those movie which I can guarantee you that it is not.  Did I like Tyler Perry’s latest film?  Well, I started out digging it a bit, but then I thought it kind of got out of control and then it seemed like it was never going to end but almost everybody I know who bought a ticket to the movie loved it.  Tyler Perry has a built-in audience who have shown their support for his work time and time again, who almost unilaterally give the man praise and would not rate anything he did this low, though the majority of the votes as one can tell by the ledger on the page give this a movie a ‘1’, the lowest possible rating. The facts are that 90% of the people who brought a ticket to this movie are his target demographic which means that people who we can rightfully assume haven’t seen this film are getting on the IMDB page for this movie and giving it the lowest possible rating.   Why would anyone do that?  Beats the hell out of me but you will see similar ratings for other Perry films, or a film like ‘Pride’, which while derivative was still good entertainment and certainly shouldn’t be ranked lower than ‘Delta Farce’.  Again, so my question is why would anyone get on a site and give a film they haven’t seen a low rating?  Just curious is all.

Editorial aside, “Why Did I Get Married’ is of course based on the Perry play of the same name and tells the tale of four upwardly mobile couples who each year meet somewhere and ‘reconnect’.  They all have of varying degrees of issues naturally.  Terry (Tyler Perry) is a pediatrician married to lawyer Diane (Sharon Leal) who pays him no attention and has stopped having sex with him.  Patricia (Janet Jackson) is a book writing psychologist married to Gavin (Malik Yoba) who is an architect and both of them are coming to grips with death of their son.  Angela (Tasha Smith) is the drunken abusive hair care mogul married to ex football player Marcus (Michael Jai White) who can’t keep it in his pants.  Lastly we have the angelic but overweight Shelia (Jill Scott) who is married to Mike (Richard T. Jones) who is only missing his devil horns to complete his personality profile.  Mike brings his mistress to the retreat while making his wife, who was too fat to fit on the plane, drive the 3000 miles up the slippery mountain to the getaway.  Yes, that’s just plain crazy.  Then there’s the fateful dinner where everything about everybody comes out in the wash and subsequently everything goes straight to hell which leads our couples needing to re-reconnect to save their marriages.

Over-the-top, unrealistic, ridiculous, and insane are adjectives which easily describe writer / director Tyler Perry’s latest film, as well as very funny and very entertaining.  This is a movie that is at its best when the couples are apart and the men are talking about their relationships and expectations, or the women are talking about the same because those scenes feel real, authentic insightful and humorous.  When the couples reunite for whatever reason things tend to get a little over the top and the film veers wildly out of control.  Perry also draws his characters too broadly as they are closer to types or caricatures than real people one can truly identify with.  The Mike character as played by Richard T. Jones is a standard character in the Perry mythology, evil beyond recognition, cutting, rude, callous, a compendium of every bad character ever created.  Same with Jill Scott’s Shelia, the ying to Mike’s yang, sweet, vulnerable, spiritual, only missing wings to complete her ascension.  The best character is the one Perry wrote for himself in Terry who is the most recognizably human and real of the lot, with Yoba’s character of Gavin also given to a more rational disposition.

Perry the director handles his diverse cast of actors very well, frames his film well and keeps it moving, though the process of wrapping everything up near the end in a sweet, nice tight package to please his audience seemed to take forever, but that was Perry the writer’s fault, not Perry the director, who is getting better at this part of the craft with each successive film he takes on.

SPOILERS:  Okay, I have some problems.  Mike spills Everybody’s dirty laundry at dinner but later on these guys still hang with this nut.  Never would happen.  Persona non grata.  He ceases to exist.  His status as my boy has been revoked permanently.  Angela belittles her husband constantly and in a word is a public embarrassment.  Never would happen twice.  Her status as my wife has been revoked.  There are others but I’m getting to the end of my page.

Not that it matters what anybody thinks anyway about a Tyler Perry movie because his support is unprecedented, but people are doing things they shouldn’t do in regards to judging these films.  I enjoyed ‘Why did I get Married’ though I thought it definitely had its flaws, which is pretty much the same thing I wrote for the last three Tyler Perry films we saw.

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