I have never seen a movie as bad as Tyler Perry’s latest film, Why Did I Get Married Too? So let's get this out of the way up front before we proceed. Not one actor in the film turned in a performance worth the price of a movie ticket, Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr and Oscar nominated Cicely Tyson included. The dialogue sounded forced and contrived. And the storylines? Good God, the storylines were absurd to the highest points of absurdity from beginning to end.
Tyler Perry’s new movie is so bad, I would encourage everyone to buy a ticket for it (because studio execs still need to be reminded black directors and black films can carry a box office), then sneak into another theater and see another movie. I know this may be my opinion, and my opinion only, but I’m pretty sure by Monday, I will have a bunch of comments from people who say I was right. I mean, it’s not even bad good, like Belly, it’s bad, bad like Street Kings.
But enough ragging on how awful (completely awful) the movie is. After all, I had the chance to see the movie for free at a screening, and even though I felt like I paid to see it after it was over, there were two questions racking my brain: The first was why Perry let this movie come out? The second was why did I think it was going to be good?
The first question is easy. Perry made a sequel to his 2007 film largely because he knew people wanted one. No I didn’t ask him this myself, and no I haven’t read that he actually said this, but I’m just going to go out on a limb and say Perry knows his audience better than he knows himself and since it is generally agreed upon even by Perry diehards that the first Why Did I Get Married? is one of his best films, he figured he’d give it another shot.
Can’t hate on the man for that. Even I wanted to see a sequel. I mean, come on! It’s black people, with no guns, but a lot of issues, working together through the ups and downs of love, replete with a happy ending. That is a WINNER ladies and gentlemen.
Too bad the sequel is a bona-fide loser.
To answer my second question as to why I thought it was going to be good, well that’s an easy answer too. I always think a black romantic comedy is going to be good.
I am a black romantic comedy fiend, largely because they reflect a life I live now. I have more in common with a movie like Best Man than I do Belly (even though I would watch Belly anytime, anywhere), so my first instinct is to give any Morris Chestnut/Gabrielle Union/Tyler Perry/Taye Diggs vehicle a chance. At worst, the next black romantic comedy is going to be just like the last one I saw, but that is no reason I won’t line up to see a new version of it. Besides, most white romantic comedies follow the same formula too. The whole genre isn’t intended to be some sort of science, it’s intended to be a guilty pleasure and enjoyable, like chocolate chip cookies, and who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? Even thugs like chocolate chip cookies, but I digress.
The fact of the matter is, Perry fell asleep at the wheel on this one. He thought he knew where he was going, and it turns out, not only did he have no clue, he crashed the whole project into a brick wall and as a result has nearly crippled his credibility.
Perry and other black filmmakers who want to contribute to the black romantic comedy canon must do better or at the very least more. As a matter of fact, the entire genre needs a complete overhaul and hopefully one of Perry’s future projects will help expedite that process.
It’s true, I’ll line up to see a non-violent black film any day of the week because I think they’re important. But if Perry and company want to get me back in the theater to watch another sappy romantic comedy about some beautiful black people who get together, break up, and get back together again, they’re going to have to make it good, not just acceptable, but genuinely good. Otherwise, I’m going to spend my time watching good bad black films, like Belly.
Jozen Cummings is a writer, editor and creator of Until I Get Married.