Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, Sharon Leal, Malik Yoba, Lamman Rucker, Richard T. Jones and Tasha Smith
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Tyler Perry doesn't care about me.
Despite the fact that virtually all of Perry's films are moral, psychological and religious examinations of African-American life, this statement has nothing to do with the color of my skin.
Instead, it's entirely about my being a film critic.
Perry doesn't, it seems, worry about film critics or movie reviews or those canned little quotes that you often find on movie posters and DVD covers. Early on, Perry caught on that his films are critic proof.
So, here's the simplest way to review Why Did I Get Married Too?, a return visit to the characters Perry created in his successful 2008 relationship serio-comedy based upon a group of couples who gather annually to rejuvenate their marriages and hash out their marital woes.
The same thing happens here, though the action is moved from Colorado to the Bahamas. The couples are the same, though Sheila (Jill Scott) has left her abusive ex-spouse (Richard T. Jones) and is with a kinder, gentler beau (Lamman Rucker).
Does it surprise you that the ex-spouse makes an appearance here? It shouldn't.
Perry films aren't exactly known for their unique storylines and diversion into unpredictability. In fact, the opposite is quite true and this is part of what Perry's target audience loves about his films. Perry writes films almost squarely targeting the African-American experience and creates broadly drawn characters that will undoubtedly resonate with virtually everyone in the office. Perry's films are, for the most part, a familial and cathartic experience for those who adore them and, as box-office receipts would show, there are millions of people who adore them.
Every single one of Perry's films has turned a profit, because Perry makes modestly budgeted films and makes them in a way that satisfies himself and his target audience.
In other words, screw the critics. Who needs a preview screening or a cutesie quote?
Not Tyler Perry.
Virtually everything about Why Did I Get Married Too? will seem familiar to virtually anyone who has seen the original film or, for that matter, any of Perry's films. If, however, you are not a member of Perry's target audience or you've simply never cared for his sort of "real life meets real melodrama" style of filmmaking, then there's nothing in this film that will change your mind.
Terry (Perry) and Dianne (Sharon Leal) are still rather placid, though this time around they have a bit more going on while the psychologist Patricia (Janet Jackson) and Gavin (Malik Yoba) are having genuine marital troubles that may have them headed for splitsville. Marcus (Michael Jai White) and Angela (Tasha Smith) are still as histrionic as ever, and even Marcus's increasing success doesn't seem to change anything. It may even make it worse.
As is true for virtually any Perry film these days, cameos abound including Cicely Tyson, Louis Gossett Jr., and Rodney Peete.
As is typical, as well, for a Perry flick, Why Did I Get Married Too? weaves not so subtle moral platitudes into its real life marital situations while also supplying audiences with an ample amount of laughs throughout.
Production values are solid throughout, and Perry continues to become a more competent and confident director with each film. Toyomichi Kurita's camera work is fine, though the film itself is fairly paint-by-numbers and Kurita isn't really called upon to paint anything beyond the basics.
It's difficult to pan a film that accomplishes, essentially what it has set out to do. While Why Did I Get Married Too? may not win Perry any new fans it will most assuredly keep his sizable legion of fans happy.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic