Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor (“My Two Cents On Tyler Perry”)

9 Apr

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Synopsis: “An ambitious married woman’s temptation by a handsome billionaire leads to betrayal, recklessness, and forever alters the course of her life.” (Rated PG-13; 1 hour, 51 minutes)

Who watches this garbage? Okay, I realize that’s somewhat of a rhetorical question, because I’ve read enough articles about Tyler Perry to know that he promotes most of his movies with black, Christian church crowds, but by God, if this is what Jesus wanted he must have had awful taste in movies!

Okay, before I get myself into hot water with my humor (or I should say “crucified”), I realize something. I know that these movies are less works of theatrical art, and more ethical/moral life-lessons put together on the silver screen by Tyler Perry. They’re basically over-the-top, melodramatic PSAs (Public Service Announcements) where you don’t need to be a good actor, the script can be trite and hammer you over the head with obviousness, the plots can be contrived and straight out of Days Of Our Lives, and the acting can be as “HOLY COW, IT’S HIS BABY?!” sensational as a Spanish-language telenovela.

I have to give Tyler Perry credit, he’s literally created a new genre of movies. He’s taken the mediocrity of late night Skinemax movies (slang for Cinemax cable movies for anyone confused), added preachy life lessons to each one, and removed anything that warrants an R-Rating. Most people would consider that R-Rating to be the best thing about those Skinemax movies – since it allowed you to see scandalous silly things on screen uncensored – but Tyler Perry found a massive audience that loves seeing them, and continues to get church groups to organize outings just to watch them. When he started out these were live plays, and according to Forbes magazine in 2005, he was getting 35 THOUSAND people to watch those plays EACH WEEK (and had already sold over 100 million dollars in tickets)! He’s no dummy, he found his niche and was only just starting to run with it. His topics would often focus on infidelity, domestic violence, child abuse and people needing to improve their own self-worth. Basically, topics usually preached about in church but made into entertaining lessons on the stage and later the big screen. In fact, he is such a huge part of his products, that just about anything from him will start with the words, “Tyler Perry’s _____” or “Tyler Perry Presents ______”. Even Steven Spielberg doesn’t get such perpetual prominent billing!

Then, in 2005 he released his first motion picture, Diary Of A Mad Black Woman. I still remember seeing it with my friend Kristina, and how we couldn’t look away. It was like we were watching this crazy soap opera, with people pulling each other’s hair, saying over-the-top fiery things, and preaching life lessons. And in the midst of an absolutely dramatic, horrifying scene of spousal abuse, there would be this farcical, comic character Madea, who was played by Tyler Perry in old-lady drag. Talk about being totally incongruous with the rest of the tone of the movie, it would go back and forth between drama and slapstick. We hadn’t seen anything like it before. And the movie made tons of money in spite of being universally hated by critics. Since then he has made an endless slew of badly reviewed movies (including many others where Madea is either a supporting or main character), and done something on TV that NOBODY has ever come close to doing: He received 200 MILLION dollars in advance for 100 episodes of a new TV show on TBS. Seriously people, the best writers, directors and actors can rarely get 12 episodes guaranteed in advance; he got 100. Everything he touched (and continues to touch) is out of this world huge. And yes, even his books have been #1 best sellers, I think the only entertainment mediums he hasn’t touched are music and video games. Can that be far behind? (How about a first-person prayer game called Halo? You see a husband beating a wife and can choose to punch him or pray for him. Just throwing out ideas…)

It’s easy to throw hate and criticisms onto his movies, but you at least need to take a step back for a moment and see it through the eyes of his intended audiences. Seen by most people, these movies are awful in just about every way, because we are looking at them as movies, and we’ve come to expect and want our movies to be entertaining, well acted, surprising, and believable. Or some combination of those things depending on the genre. But what if his intention is not to make a movie, but to make a deliberately over-the-top story which has only one purpose: to teach in an entertaining manner? I believe that is what he has been tirelessly doing for years, and you can’t argue with his successful results. Many many movies later, Temptation was just as badly acted and crazy over-the-top as Diary Of A Mad Black Woman was 8 years ago.

I went to this movie much more prepared with what to expect, so I was looking forward to seeing it more as a guilty pleasure viewing. I mean c’mon, the complete title of the movie is Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor, everything about that screams guilty pleasure! I was looking forward to commenting and making fun of it with my friend Yoni, something I rarely do. (Just read my recent post about The Host and you’ll know I try to avoid talking while watching a movie, but there are these rare exceptions.) We were excited when we arrived that there was not a single other soul in the theater, but by the time the movie began 3 others had joined, so we had to be more careful with how quietly we mocked the movie out of respect for the other movie-goers. We still had a grand old time, and boy was there plenty of material to make fun of. For one thing, the main character, played by a sexy Jurnee Smollett-Bell, was the WORST employee of all time. From the start of the movie she worked at her job the way you’d expect to see a petulant teen do her homework when she’s grounded. She moped, scowled, and when told to do something by her boss (Vanessa Williams), she literally pouted and said, “I guess” while frowning. I have no idea why she wouldn’t be fired from that job from day one. It was so over-the-top unbelievable that we couldn’t stop laughing about her total lack of professionalism. And you’re supposed to be rooting for her because she’s bored at her job and she SHOULD be doing her dream job instead. Really, Tyler Perry, seriously?

What were other things we were cracking up about? She’s bored with her safe, nice, schlubby pharmacist husband, but when he takes off his shirt, the guy has a 12-pack. You could bounce a Tyler Perry DVD off his chest, that was precious. (By the way, that actor was played by Lance Gross who seems to be making a career out of acting in Tyler Perry movies, and he was arguably the only decent actor in the bunch, or so his numerous crying scenes would imply). And then there was Kim Kardashian, I just knew she was going to be an Oscar winner, and she sure didn’t let me down!  Let me put it this way: remember everything I said about Kristen Stewart being no better than a block of wood in that same review of The Host? If Kristen Stewart was wood, then Kim Kardashian was clearly plastic. Do I really need to go into the many reasons why this is the material of choice to compare her acting talents? As for the main devilish “temptation”, Robbie Jones looks like an alien. I couldn’t stop thinking that the next time they need to cast for a movie where aliens take the form of humans but still look “odd”…he needs to be cast. I couldn’t place why I recognized him the entire movie until I got home and saw that it was for a show I deserve to be ridiculed for watching, One Tree Hill. (On the show he played the part of the basketball player Quentin, who eventually got shot and killed on the show. I can’t possibly imagine that I needed to say “spoiler alert” in that one particular circumstance, right???) Oh, and Vanessa Williams as her boss spoke with the worst French accent you’ve heard in years. They try to justify that by the end of the movie but it’s still worth laughing at throughout the movie.

There are countless other elements of the movie that we had a great time poking holes at, but you should get the point. Tyler Perry makes bad movies, but if you see them as a completely different form of entertainment, it at least becomes interesting. Or you could always just watch them to make fun of them, I certainly won’t throw stones at any glass houses from where I’m typing.

The movie was better than…umm…I haven’t seen enough of his movies to compare it to, and the few I’ve seen are on just about the same level of quality. Sure, I could say it’s better than Movie 43 and worse than Zero Dark Thirty but that’s just pure randomness, and his movies should probably only be compared to each other.

Quality Rating: C-

Boaz Rating: B+ (Taking into account the great fun we had making fun of it)

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17 Responses to “Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor (“My Two Cents On Tyler Perry”)”

  1. Shlomo Abraham April 10, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    I think that line sums up 90% of your reviews perfectly: “It was better than Movie 43, but worse than 0 Dark 30.”

    Like

    • boazconstrictor April 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

      Umm, yes my friend, that was kind of the point here, that there’s no way to compare the flick to others. Movie 43 and Zero Dark Thirty are about as far apart in quality as movies get, anyone would place the rest of the movie universe between them!

      Like

  2. zralston April 10, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    “How about a first-person prayer game called Halo? You see a husband beating a wife and can choose to punch him or pray for him.”

    Genius. Let’s market this.

    Like

    • boazconstrictor April 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      At least someone appreciates my (often) warped sense of humor! 🙂

      Like

    • projectedrealities April 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      Assassin’s Creed II lets you do half of that–shame you can’t pray for the cheating husband instead. 😛 Great post, though, BoazConstrictor!

      Like

      • boazconstrictor April 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

        Ha, pray or shoot him, whatever the geeky programmers are in the mood to make happen when they design the game! 🙂

        Like

  3. movierob April 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Gotta say, not a fan of tyler perry either, but if you can find a way to laugh along throughout the movie, guess you found a way to enjoy the experience. I once saw Top Secret in the theater (in ’93) with 3 friends and no one else in the theater and we had a ball LOAO throughout 🙂

    Like

    • boazconstrictor April 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Oh I’ve seen many movies where I COULD talk through it, I just rarely would want to. Top Secret is a classic, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss hearing a line! 🙂

      Like

      • movierob April 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

        as a rule, i don’t like when people talk through movies, I like to hear everything that is being said and is going on, buuuuttt, sometime when I’m watching something I’ve seen so many times, I am willing to allow some leeway.

        When I saw Top Secret, we had all seen it numerous times, so that’s why it was more enjoyable to laugh throughout and have a great time.

        Like

      • boazconstrictor April 10, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

        Oh, that’s a TOTALLY different story, thought it was your first time. Got it!

        Like

  4. movierob April 11, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    no way. that would completely freak me out, cause then i’d miss some of the plot or dialogue 🙂

    BTW, you have inspired me Boaz, started my own blog. check it out http://movierob.wordpress.com/

    It’s a work in progress, so I only have 1 movie post so far….

    🙂

    Like

    • boazconstrictor April 11, 2013 at 2:05 am #

      Nice, I’m quite flattered! Just don’t take too much time away from your work or family, it can be wonderful but also can be a real time suck! 🙂

      Like

  5. Derrick April 14, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    You’ve put your finger precisely on why Tyler Perry is so popular and profitable. And I think the real reason why he’s so vilified is BECAUSE he’s so profitable and profitable. If you’re going to dislike the man, dislike him for a better reason than he found a demographic nobody was making movies for and then proceeded to create and market product for that demographic.

    Like

    • boazconstrictor April 14, 2013 at 8:24 am #

      For many people who dislike him that’s absolutely true, there’s no doubt a jealousy element at play. But as my friend Seth told me after reading my piece, there’s no reason someone can’t still make things entirely for that demographic but do them as well written, well acted movies.
      My only counter-argument to that is, what if the end result of that would be less effective? It’s possible that this is precisely what people want, with all of its bizarre flaws, I just don’t know!

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Scary MoVie (“My God, They Make Movies This Bad?”) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - April 23, 2013

    […] -Tyler Perry’s Temptation: I clearly thought it was unredeemable, awful movie-making, but it definitely fell into so-bad-it’s-great territory, especially if you have a friend excited to do a Statler & Waldorf routine with you. […]

    Like

  2. The 2013 Boaz Movie Tally (Where Have I Been?!) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - March 25, 2014

    […] Yoni – 6 (If he didn’t live in the valley, no doubt this would be a higher number. The most FUN we had watching a movie last year: Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor.) […]

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