I have mocked Tyler Perry on many occasions. I have not, however, seen any of his movies, plays, or TV shows. Instead, I’ve piggybacked on the scoffing of others to form my barely informed opinion.
I reviewed Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too to fix that oversight. I attempted to temporarily set aside my sneering preconceptions and honestly assess Perry’s latest movie on its merits.
Why Did I Get Married Too begins with four couples on a retreat to the Bahamas. After one couple announces their divorce, the others begin to question the trust in their relationships.
Here are the dudes sitting around the beach drinkin’ beers, talking about relationships. Here are the ladies lounging around the living room sipping margaritas, talking about relationships. Here is the dialogue that blares: “Here is the exposition. This is the underlying point of this conversation.”
Most points hit the old and weathered gender-stereotype drums: Men talk about football. Women be crazy.
This is a sequel to a movie based on a play that Tyler Perry wrote, and the fingerprint of a theater director is still there. The directing is almost the sort of exaggerated acting and dialogue projecting for the people sitting way in the back row.
There are strong points, granted.
We see married, middle-class black men and women, which, post-Cosby Show, don’t show up often in pop culture. The tone is affable. It has moments of, if not comedy, good-naturedness. It would all be fine, if the movie were only 30 minutes long.
Instead, it’s two hours. That’s a very long time to watch stale banter turn into generic conflicts that spark loud, clichéd yelling matches. The characters don’t have the depth to make us care about their screaming and crying. The plot sags under too many arcs from too many characters battered by too many contrivances. It’s all over-packed, overlong and undercooked.
Tyler Perry’s movie — in this case — isn’t offensive or hilariously awful, as some critics charge. Instead, it’s like a concept he pounded out without editing or revision. And it’s about three drafts and several major cuts away from a decent movie. (Rated PG-13)