Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club (2014

The most popular piece of writing advice that gets bandied about is “write what you know.” Tyler Perry heard this advice and confidently went, ”nope.” We present to you: Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club, as written, directed, and acted like someone who has never met a single mom. Or had children.
A staple for any Tyler Perry movie is to have about 17 characters, give each a terrible secret/unbelievable obstacle to overcome, and then they overcome it. It feels good, but only if you don’t look at the gaping plot holes and don’t ask too many questions.
The movie begins with five single moms being called into a conference with the principal of their children’s school.  “And where are the fathers?” asks the principal. Where indeed? Maybe these kids wouldn’t be smoking and tagging the school with graffiti if some dads were around (a little heavy handed Mr. Perry, but I get your meaning).

As punishment the principal makes the moms plan a charity event. Wait, what? The moms get in trouble? And the principal is going to trust five random ladies with a fundraising event for her fancy private school?  These are single moms who can barely make it to a conference on time! They can’t handle this! The moms get together and decide that it’s hard being a single mom and they should take turns watching the kids so the other moms can go sing karaoke and go to strip clubs. This is the basis for a club. Who are these women? 
This is May Miller. She’s a writer, has a son, and is being pursued by Tyler Perry’s character. We start with her trying to pitch a book, being rejected, and running late for the meeting at her son’s school. 
Heavy Handed Stereotype: Let’s start with desperate for a man. Tyler Perry shows up AT HER HOUSE, and she finds it charming rather than unsettling. May is the only mom who is late for the conference at school, so let’s add “frazzled” and “too much on her plate” to the single mom stereotypes.
Deep Dark Secret: Her son’s father is a drug addict.
Crazy Drama: When her son runs away to see his dad (whatever you do May, DO NOT call the police when this happens. Go home and wait after you call his name a few times!) May gets mad at the other mom who was supposed to be watching her kid. Then her “pride” keeps her from talking to the other moms – maybe because you acted like a psycho May?
Conclusion: Say you’re sorry to the other moms and everything goes back to normal.
This is Hillary Massey. She’s divorcing a lawyer, having to fire her maid, and has a crush on her next door neighbor. White people problems. Amirite? She seems to solve her problems by crying and drinking wine.
Heavy Handed Stereotype: Clueless white lady. Has three kids but can’t take care of them without the help of a housekeeper.
Deep Dark Secret: Her daughter loves the maid more than Hillary.
Crazy Drama: She loses May’s son, because when Hilary was supposed to be babysitting she was sitting on the porch flirting with her neighbor. To be fair, all the kids were asleep, but shouldn’t rich white ladies own a baby monitor or some kind of surveillance equipment?
 Conclusion: Just be a better mom I guess? Her kid likes her better, and Hillary cries less. And date your neighbor because it’s convenient and you’re both attractive.
This is Lytia Wright. She has five kids, no car, and her two oldest are in prison. She is also sassy, loud, and a waitress at what I can guess is a Waffle House. She’s got a customer that tries to woo her by bringing her a funeral wreath. Her life is exactly what kind of life you can expect to have when you wear crazy leopard coats without irony. She’s excellent at putting up with Jan’s casual racism.
Heavy Handed Stereotype: If Tyler Perry was going to dress up and play one of the single moms himself, Lytia would be the one. She is loud, “sassy”, and lower middle class (but with a heart of gold).
Deep Dark Secret: Maybe that her two older kids are in prison? But that’s not exactly a secret, because she reminds her youngest son of it all the time when she’s yelling at him to act right. I wish her secret was something like she used to be a competitive Salsa dancer or was starting a jewelry business, but we don’t have time for character nuance.
Crazy Drama: Lytia won’t let her son play basketball outside, because that’s the gateway activity to robbing a liquor store.
Conclusion: Let your kid play basketball sometimes and date the guy who gives you a funeral wreath. Your life can only get so good, so take what you can get.
This is Jan Malkovitch. She works in “publishing” because nobody told Tyler Perry this was a dying industry. She’s a “career gal” who spends too much time at work and is wary of minorities, and Jan starts the movie dashing May’s dreams. She has a daughter who is sexually aggressive, but Jan herself hasn’t gotten any in 10 years. She likes to ask other members of the moms club things like “why is your son named after a Jewish holiday?”
Heavy Handed Stereotype: Casual racist. Career gal who is too focused on work to be feminine enough for a man.  
Deep Dark Secret: She can’t sing. You don’t suggest karaoke as an activity if you are tone deaf.
Crazy Drama: She is up for “partnership” in her publishing company but being a mom is getting in the way. Is this even a thing?  

Conclusion: She moves to another publishing firm (really? She has several to choose from? Is everyone unaware of what’s going on in this economy?), spends more time with her daughter, and decides to publish May’s book.
This is Esperanza Luego (because, HEY THIS IS THE HISPANIC CHARACTER doesn’t roll off the tongue like you’d think) and she is also a stay at home single mom. She has a boyfriend who she won’t introduce to her daughter because her ex-husband (Eddie Cibrian!) keeps threatening to take her house away.
Heavy Handed Stereotype: The spicy Latina.
Deep Dark Secret: I guess the fact that she can’t read her divorce decree to find out that her ex doesn’t own the house she lives in.
Crazy Drama: Seriously, Eddie Cibrian won’t give her a break. He buys their daughter a phone and lets her wear makeup. This isn’t “crazy” because all she has to do is say “Lay off Eddie!”
Conclusion: “Lay off Eddie!” and she finally introduces her daughter to her boyfriend.
What have we learned from all of this? There are five kinds of single moms out there and if you can figure out which kind you are and start a babysitting co-op, your problems practically solves themselves.
What are other people saying about this movie? Here is a five star review on Amazon, so you can decide for yourself:
I don’t know why the film wasn’t a hit at the Box Office but it was a hit for me when I watched it at the movie theater with a group of people, it’s not a chick flick, it’s for everyone Men & Women! I thought the acting was phenomenal, the humor worked at every moment it hit, the emotions was surreal and it had a universal story line that I can relate and saw myself in the movie as the men the single moms fell in love with! Keep up the good work Mr. Perry, I think you’re doing a fantastic job!!! Can’t wait for your next production, either it’s Madea or not!!!! I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone, Tyler Perry fans or not Tyler Perry fans!!! Getting this one for my Tyler Perry collection definitely!!!

As you do. 

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Why Did I Get Married? (2007)

To call Tyler Perry presents Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? starring Tyler Perry “ham handed” would insult the graceful subtlety of ham. Thank you Netflix for making this train wreck available in the month of September. Buckle up.

This is Janet Jackson and she wrote a book called Why Did I Get Married, just in case one minute into the film you forget what it’s called. Each year JJ, her husband, and their three closest couple friends take a vacation together, a “relationship retreat” if you will, and she used all of them as characters in her book. My favorite part of this scene is when a student asks a question about one of the couple and JJ’s all “I don’t like to talk about my friends.” Also, like EVERY OTHER CHARACTER, Janet has a deep, dark secret.

Oh well, off to vacation with friends!

Couple number 1: This is Tyler Perry and his wife. He’s a doctor and she’s a lawyer, and while you think about all which 1980’s sitcom that was lifted from, let’s go ahead and start spilling secrets because there is so much going on in this movie you’ll need some kind of chart or graph to keep up. He wants another child (even though he did a secret paternity test on the first one! Oh no he didn’t!) and she secretly had her tubes tied (I guess that’s possible?) because she loves her career.

This is Jill Scott and her husband. See that woman behind her? That’s her husband’s “employee” that he’s bringing on the couple’s retreat with them (oh no he didn’t!). The first time I saw this movie I thought the husband was a bad character, but upon more reflection I think he’s a nice guy to take care of a mentally challenged lady who can’t see what’s going on. Also, Jill is asked to get off the plane because she’s too big for one seat, and her husband is all “you drive to Colorado. Me and my employee will meet you there.” That’s no way to start a week of reflecting on your marriage, sir.

This is Angela and her ex-NFL player husband Marcus. His name is easy to remember because she is always yelling at him. She’s also almost always drunk. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Angela is hands down the best character in this movie. Side note: Angela is portrayed by Tasha Smith, and she teaches an acting class in LA. Want to learn how to yell “Marcus!” with conviction? Now you can!

Moving on…

Everyone arrives in Colorado, and the ladies are all “Men! Amirite?” and “Where is Jill Scott and why did her husband bring another lady on our vacation?” and “I hate my husband’s babymomma.” I like how Tyler Perry doesn’t use stereotypes and cliché as a crutch. Note that this movie was made in 2007, when we all had a much more liberal view on wearing fur.

 The men are all “I cheated and now have an STD!” “My wife works too hard!” “I don’t like my wife, but my secretary who came with me sure is nice…” Is your head spinning yet? Intrigue! Now we learn about the 80/20 rule. Tyler Perry lets us know that the most you get from someone is 80% of what you want. If you go looking for the other 20% that’s missing, you lose 80 and only get 20. I’m no mathematician, but that sounds like some inspiration that belongs on a poster.
Here comes Jill Scott finally. Good to see that the local sheriff is accompanying her on the last leg of her journey. The vacation can only get better from here.

 No it doesn’t. Despite the sheriff being black, apparently the only other black people this store clerk has seen are from rap videos, so she walks right up to our heroes and lets them know that she “doesn’t keep money in the store.” Yes. The women wearing gauche furs are going to rob you.

This is the dinner where all the secrets are revealed! Cheating! STDs! Paternity tests! Divorce! Can I interject here that for a group of couples that do a vacation every year specifically to work on their marriages, none of the lessons seem to have gotten through? I blame Janet Jackson’s skill as an…author? Marriage counselor? Professor? What does she do exactly? End of vacation.

The marriage retreat was a big bust, because Marcus is fed up with Angela drunkly yelling at him and his ex all the time and Anglea is embarrassed at Marcus’ fashion choices. Why are we tucking a tie dye Affliction shirt into our jeans?

Jill Scott stays in Colorado with the sheriff after her husband asks for a divorce. Sure. If I didn’t realize that my husband was cheating on me with a woman he brought on our vacation, I would be so embarrassed that I moved out of state.  

Ah, Janet can fix things! After her friends come to her asking what to do about their relationships, we realize why she is an author and speaker. Janet tells her friends to make a pro/con list about their relationships and decide based on that. What!?! C’mon Tyler, you’re not even trying. 

The men aren’t much better. Janet’s husband gives them all another version of the 80/20 rule, and they complain some more about their relationships. Does any of this help? I guess so, because…

Months later (?), everyone shows up to support Janet getting some kind of book award. Even Jill Scott, who forgot to tell everyone that she stayed in Colorado and got remarried to the sheriff. Maybe some of Jill’s “friends” should have checked in with her a little more.

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For Your Consideration: Temptation (2013)

Everytime, I keep stumbling on random weird movies that Netflix suggests to me, I get excited and put it at the top of my list. And then one of my friend’s says, “Hey, did you know Tyler Perry’s Temptation” is available for streaming?”

So apologies to 1980s Deathstalker classic , but I can’t pass up the opportunity to delve into this.


Oh, this guy will have his day. I promise.

Before we go on, I’d like to point out that unless you’re Tolkien or writing something that’s so epic in scale, not to mention good, then you have license to have a long and pointless title. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor does not have any of these factors going for it. Therefore, this movie will simply be known as Temptation.

The story involves a girl named Judith who dreams of being a marriage counselor, yet cheats on her husband with a guy who’s claim to fame is being “the third biggest social media inventor since Facebook.”

You heard that right. The third biggest since Facebook. So after Twitter, then MySpace, you can find this guy.

We open on a marriage counselor’s office, that resembles more of a high school principal or a legal office…

I guess if you want couples to point fingers and hash out their issues, you should make your environment as uncomfortable and sterile as possible.

The counselor starts up the story, “Let me tell you about my sister Judith…” so right away, we’re going to be in flashback mode. And immediately, I suspect Judith is the oneactually telling the story.

Soaccording to the flashback narration, Judith and her husband have known each other a long time. They’ve done lots of things together – like wearing khaki colors and riding buses.

We’re told that there’s a love for the ages….

They come from humble roots where happiness is in its truest long sleeved form.

According to the flashback, Judith and Brice make the transition from small town to Washington DC where she dreams of being a marriage counselor and he dreams of working in a small privately owned pharmacy.  Which everyone knows that DC is the epicenter for both careers.  He gets what he wants but she has to settle for working for Vanessa Williams, aka The Millionaire Matchmaker (aka NOT Patti Stanger).

Also, its time to talk about Kim Kardashian’s acting skills. Not that it deserves to be desconstructed…

“Degrees on the wall aren’t worth as much as labels on the back…”

Now say that line with no emotion, possible no understanding of the words and with the most nasal tone possible and now you can experience the Kim Kardashian Thespian Method.

Put them all together in a room, with the third most important social media inventor. Who isn’t being tempted?!?!?

Judith comes home to her very loving, very sympathetic, and the man who has known her since she was 12 after three weeks of living here and decides to be dissatisfied.

However, when Social Media Guy tends to a foot injury, temptation starts to happen.

This scene happened when her husband decides to try to romance his wife, naked and with a guitar.

I imagine the flashback narration to the crying couple went like this…

“So, Judith’s husband took off his clothes and lip synched to a song.  He put on a cowboy hat and had oiled up his chest to make it more appealing in the dim lighting of their low rent apartment.”

We need to address what the husband’s been doing during the day. He works at a small pharmacy and despite the fact he’s known his wife since he was 11, he has forgotten when her birthday is.

He wears sweaters and they have one customer…

..who is Brandi and she’s hiding a terrible secret. At least that’s the conclusion we’re told by the way of her wearing hoodies and dispensing wise-beyond-her-years advice.

His boss is a kindly sassy woman who recommends and freely hands out Valium, making her possibly the worst pharmacist ever, but a beloved resource to Washington DC.

Is it enough though? Not when the Third Most Important After Zuckerberg Inventor is taking you on a private jet to New Orleans.

He shoots, he scores.

Know what’s awkward? Bringing home your new boyfriend to meet your mom…and your husband.

“After she cheated on her husband, Social Media Inventor took her on a shopping spree, where she carefully picked out an outfit that would impress Kim Kardashian,” said the movie’s flashback narrator.

“How does this have to do with my husband’s inability to listen to me?” Wife Who Needs Counseling.

The real sin with these characters is that no one has the ability to put two and two together.  Judith feels that getting out of her boyfriend’s car in front of her house still counts as being covert, while her husband watches and is still surprised when he finds out his wife is cheating on him.

“Judith and the Social Media Inventor of the Ages had sex in a steamy tub with overly loud R&B music that was not added properly during post production,” – possible flashback narration dialogue.

During this very ham handed scene, we realize that Judith’s boyfriend is actually SATAN (after all, his home is ghoulish and has flames, right?) Someone should probably inform the extras in this scene.

“So Judith was sandwiched in on a tiny couch next to the flames of hell, sucking down some kind of alchohol while a blonde lady looked on….”

Meanwhile, Brice goes to Brandy’s apartment and makes his move.  She backs away and says, “I have AIDS.”

Nothing will kill the mood more than that statement.

She also informs him that she was with the same Social Media Inventor (aka Satan) and therefore now has AIDS (by the way, SPOILER ALERT). So they do the logical thing….

“Quick! To the Capitol!”

“Or wherever wealthy social media inventors live!”

Brice charges up to him while Satan is sleeping…

…and throws them both out of an indoor window.

And then we switch back to present day, where Wife is left with this reaction.

“And that’s why you don’t cheat on your husband. Our time is up.”

The final scene in this mess of preachy nonsense is our intrepid marriage counselor hobbling to her local pharmacy.

Getting her medication from this familiar face as we discover it was Judith all along.

“Hey there! Here to pick up your AIDS medicine?”

“Have you met my perfect wife and son that I moved on from you with?”

And then Judith walks away and the movie makes us just watch her go as the scene…peters…out.

Overall, some very important lessons were had from watching Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confession of a Local Pharmacist’s Wife Who Contracts HIV. I learned that to never forget a spouse’s birthday, don’t ask Kim Kardashian to talk and whatever you do, don’t pick up your prescriptions from your ex-husband that you cheated on.