“For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow isn’t enuf”, The Stage Play is excellently written with powerful poems. Poems that have touched the hearts & minds of women for years. A young woman was so moved by it that she wrote a big screen adaptation for this play. Once it was shown that her adaptation would be faithful to the original it was approved by Ntozake Shange, the creator of the stage pla, then Angela Basset, Alicia Keys and Sanaa Lathan were attached to the film. This young woman/director’s adaptation was so profound that Lionsgate immediately began talking awards mainly Oscars. Now, here is where Nzingha Stewart steps to the side and Tyler Perry smartly comes in.

Tyler Perry has made 10 movies but to many he is still not seen as legitimate. Madea and crew may make you laugh and they may make money, but they wont win the Big award, that trophy of legitimacy. Love Tyler Perry or not, let’s face it Medea is no Mrs. Doubtfire, and Tyler Perry is no Robin Williams. Mr. Perry did what many of us would have done in that situation and he took over the project. He did so with one goal; leave it as it was envisioned by the young director. All he had to do was allow the actors to act, don’t mess it up, and let the award talk begin. This was not ever done for or about your issues, your healing. It was and has always been about the pursuit of legitamcy… the pursuit of The Award. Tyler Perry said himself “I just didn’t want to ruin it. Was he talking about the young directors work, the sentiments of the play, or both? The movie itself is powerfully good, the blending of the poetry with dialogue is often magnificent. This blending of poetry with dialogue is so familiar to me that I am tempted to start my own verse of “Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff”, if you’ve read my books you’d know what I mean. However, I am sure that other well versed directors will attempt such boldness in the future.

In this situation, I am reminded of the scene from the movie “Friday” where Deebo says “That’s my bike punk!”, this is not about Tyler Perry, his style, or his treatment of issues. Because we need the Tyler Perry’s of the directing world, but we also need the non-Tyler Perry voices to be heard. The issues in “For Colored Girls” are conversations that we need to be having and not just on a blog, or a post, but in our communities. This is also about our young and new artist, who don’t get credit, who get looked over and in many cases do the lions-share of the creative work all in order to pay some imaginary dues.  I can’t say how I would have handled the situation if a new director came along and on their first film there was Oscar talk, and I had done 10 film in with no Oscar. I often hear people say where are the young talented minorites, where are the young fresh idea having directors. We now have the answer to those questions. Frankly, because of the way “For Colored Girls” is written it deserves much Oscar talk. And because of the excellent acting, these ladies deserve to sweep the Oscars. Tyler has succeded in not messing “For Colored Girls” up because the poetry and passion of the original play is much larger than any award a director could ever get their hands on.

December 15, 2010

Oddly “For Colored Girls” was not nominated for a Single Golden Globe Award.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’, is the sequel to Tyler Perry’s 2007 movie “Why Did I Get Married”. As many of my readers my know I try not to review Tyler Perry’s films because I have previously been compared to him, in some regard, and most of my reviews, while honest  have not been flattering.  The formula here is the same, couples bickering, exploiting emotions, and all of the marriage challenged have moral, ethical and relationship issues that usually get resolved by the time the movie is over and always with one character who is so horribly flawed that they are beyond redemption.

Honestly, Why Did I Get Married (2007) is when I thought that Tyler Perry had finally shown growth as a director, so I wanted to see this movie. The sequel’s story, though predictable, moves better than most of his films and the subject matter is still shallow. His films have marginally gotten better, but here we are almost 10 movies in and still Tyler Perry refuses to enlist real help with his film making.

This film picks up three years after the first movie, the four couples have moved on with their lives and are now taking their annual vacation. The location this time? The beautiful Bahamas. The couples all seen to be doing fine. Therapist Patricia (Janet Jackson) and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) have the perfect marriage and are moving on after the tragic death of their baby boy Noah. The workaholic Dianne (Sharon Leal) and her husband Terry (Tyler Perry) now have a little boy after Dianne had surgery to reverse the tubal ligation. Troy (Lamman Rucker) and Sheila (Jill Scott) are newlyweds and have moved from Colorado to Atlanta and have a little boy. Troy’s inability to land a job has put stress on the couple a matter which is complicated when Sheila’s ex-husband Mike (Richard T Jones) crashes their vacation. The ever mouthy Angela (Tasha Smith) and Marcus (Michael Jai White) are dealing with infidelity issues.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ shows each of these couples attempting to portray that they have happy marriages, but before the vacation is over as we find out that real trouble is brewing. When the couples return home is where the couples face their problems head on.  Janet Jackson gives a nod to Tiger Woods in some very dramatic scenes. This film is where Janet turns in what I think is her best performance as an actress, sadly their isn’t much to see here. Now before you start thinking “he’s hating”, let me finish.

To say that this movie is cliché  and over the top are understatements, but what did you expect?  Sometimes the dialogue falls flat and the characters feel like they are on a stage instead of a beautiful island. There are several moments in this movie that will tug at your heart strings and tickle your funny bone. This is a film about relationships, love lost and found. Mr. Perry has continually assaulted my film experience since his arrival, and this movie is not totally good news for those waiting for the recently announced film “For Colored Girls”.  I said all of that to say that there is something about seeing the screen full of black actors and actresses that is refreshing… liberating even. There is something special about black people not being afraid of being black. This fact is something my fellow film critics will never get. Yes the Tyler Perry brand is formulaic and there are many things that can be said about his directing, writing  and acting. However, there is one word I have never heard someone say in regard to Tyler Perry, and that word is “Fearless”. And fearless is exactly what Tyler Perry is.  That is what ‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ fully shows.  Fearless is what Mo’Nique showed by acting in Precious. Fearless is what Lee Daniels showed for directing that movie. They are all unafraid. So in that regard Tyler Perry thank you.

This movie gets a 7 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This film is in theaters.