Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Movie Pick: Tyler Perry's "Why Did We Get Married"

I took my mom to see this movie on Monday and she loved it. Now, if you know my mom that is high praise for a movie. But seriously, this is the best Tyler Perry movie to date. If you're looking for an entertaining relationship movie with universal themes this is a good pick.

So go and have a good laugh. It will add a few days to your life.


excerpt from:

Tyler Perry's Money Machine -

Tuesday, October 16, 2007; Page A19

George Clooney is a big-time movie star. Cate Blanchett is a big-time movie star. But Tyler Perry's new movie did more box-office on its opening weekend than Clooney's and Blanchett's new movies combined, which makes Perry a big-time movie star, too, and also a phenomenon.

Perry's " Why Did I Get Married?" -- which features singers Janet Jackson and Jill Scott -- ruled the weekend with $21.5 million in sales. Clooney's thriller " Michael Clayton" struggled to earn half that much, while Blanchett's costume drama " Elizabeth: The Golden Age" barely broke $6 million.

What makes this worth noting? According to Perry's distributor, Lions Gate Films, around 90 percent of the audience for "Why Did I Get Married?" was African American. The ensemble cast is African American, too.

A playwright, actor and filmmaker -- based not in Hollywood but in somewhat less glamorous Atlanta -- Perry is making a habit of pulling this kind of stunt. Last year his " Madea's Family Reunion" opened with a $30 million weekend. Critics find Perry's films formulaic, but clearly he has found a formula that works. And he has found an untapped audience that literally can't wait to see itself on the big screen.

In his plays and movies, Perry shows African Americans as they . . . well, I was about to say he shows us as we really are, but that's not true. Reality is for documentaries; Perry's characters are unsubtle, his humor is broad, and his plots are soaked with melodrama. Among his big themes are love, fidelity and the importance of family, and his movies usually have religious overtones.

What Perry does is depict black Americans as people relating to other people -- not as mere plot devices and not as characters defined solely by how they relate to the white world. The rest of the movie industry would do well to take note.

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