Movie Review — 07 April 2010

By Malice Intended

As part of their annual reunion, four couples vacation together in the Bahamas. Unfortunately various issues make their stay in the island paradise less than ideal.  These troubles follow them back to the mainland and put their marriages to the test.  As each situation reaches a head, each couple finds their trust in one another crumbling under the weight.  Sheila (Jill Scott), Mike (Richard T. Jones), Troy (Lamman Rucker), Dianne (Sharon Leal), Terry (Tyler Perry), Angela (Tasha Smith), Marcus (Michael Jai White), Patricia (Janet Jackson) and Gavin (Malik Yoba) are all forced to decide what is really important to them.

Writer/Director Tyler Perry is apparently a believer in the notion that bigger equals better, as Why Did I Get Married Too?  plays like an augmented version of its predecessor.  The film seems deathly afraid of boring its audience and is packed to the gills with melodrama, plot twists and heightened confrontations.  Tyler’s formula remains the same, but is slowly becoming more grandiose.

Tyler’s gradually increasing production budgets are evident in the films locale and glossy color palette.  During its opening moments, the film plays like a feature length travelogue or an advertisement for a vacation resort.  This has a slightly voyeuristic feel, as the audience is clearly meant to live vicariously through the main characters and bask in the glow of this island paradise.  The dialogue makes obvious references to it.

During its opening act, Why Did I Get Married Too? is a fairly enjoyable and lightweight romantic comedy in the same vein as the original.  Curiously, Mr. Perry didn’t think this would be enough to satiate his audience and piles on cliché after cliché until the fragile structure of the film can longer bear the weight.  As the plot unfolds, the film slowly implodes.

Tyler’s flaws as a writer are in full display.  The dialogue is expository to the point of pacification.  Absolutely nothing is demanded from the audience.  Everything is spoon fed, as if Mr. Perry doesn’t trust the viewers to actually reflect on and think about what they are watching.  There is no sense of art or subtlety.  Nothing is merely suggested and every point is made in the most ham fisted and obvious way possible.

The emotional conflicts and plot developments defy believability and quite frankly become offensively laughable by the closing moments.  It’s as if Tyler is engaged in a game of one upsmanship with his evil alter ego, trying the find the most outlandish way possible to outdo each scene that has come before.  Long before the end credits roll, it becomes evident that all of these relationships require more than cultural platitudes and half-assed spiritual messages to keep them afloat.  Alas, that is all that Mr. Perry has to offer.

The one place where the film does shine is the acting.  This film is filled with moments that are downright painful (for all the wrong reasons), and it’s to the credit of all involved that they are able to sell each moment with sincerity.  They keep the film watchable in even it’s most ridiculous moments, and make some of Tyler’s writing and directing choices forgivable.  Special mention should go to the consistently likable Jill Scott.  Michael Jai White is given a cartoonish character that he tries valiantly to redeem, but the screenplay undermines him at every turn.

It is, quite frankly, time for Tyler Perry to demand more of himself as an artist.  His heart is in the right place, and he knows his audience well.  Why does he insist on delivering his message in the most amateurish way possible?  Why Did I Get Married Too?  lacks the underlying goodwill of some of his better work, and plays like a gift wrapped present to his detractors.  Screenwriting and directing are disciplines.  To show respect to those disciplines is to deliver your message in the most effective way possible.
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 Out of 5



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