Film Reviews

I Can Do Bad All by Myself Proves That Tyler Perry Can Do Just That

If you are the director, producer, writer adapting your own stage play, and co-star of a film, you really show how bad you can do all by yourself.

Usually thrilling in their lunacy, most Tyler Perry movies can at least keep up their momentum through the combination of an overstuffed plot and the presence of Madea, the big-boned granny who will rip out your urethra tube if you sass her. Perry’s latest—about a boozy nightclub singer, April (Taraji P. Henson), begrudgingly sheltering her niece and nephews—has so many dead moments that singing spots by Gladys Knight, Pastor Marvin Winans, and Mary J. Blige simply highlight, rather than alleviate, the inertia.

Madea, tonic in February’s Madea Goes to Jail, appears on-screen for only about 15 minutes, at least sharing an inspired bit about Siegfried and Roy on Noah’s “arch.” If the Atlanta impresario is just bored with cranking out two adaptations a year of his earlier stage work, the audience is getting restless, too: I counted at least three walkouts at the 11 a.m. show I attended.

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Melissa Anderson is the senior film critic at the Village Voice, for which she first began writing in 2000. Her work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.