Tyler Perry’s Acrimony
I liked Taraji P. Henson in Hustle & Flow. She was great in Hidden Figures. I didn’t remember her in Benjamin Buttons until my wife mentioned it.
I’ve seen clips of her with her Hustle & Flow co-star Terrence “the wife beater” Howard in Empire, and it looks like she does fine on that show. Yet the overacting she does in this Fatal Attraction wannabe is awful. From the overuse of her grating voice in way too many voice-overs, to her bug eyes bugging out even more than usual when she’d get angry (which was most of this movie).
Side note to screenwriters: relying on narration to tell us how characters feel is lazy. Show us, don’t tell us.
Since this is a Tyler Perry movie, and his films are awful — the studio was smart not to screen it for the critics. They figured it would merely hurt business, when there are enough people that waste their money on his horrible movies even without the reviews. But since I had nothing going on Saturday night, I talked my wife into going. And the only thing that didn’t make this a total waste of two hours, is that it started getting so utterly ridiculous in the 3rd act, we just kept making each other laugh as we made fun of everything going on. When one character gets into a bathtub, after spending time scratching himself endlessly at a shelter, the wife said, “Is that his delousing?”
When one character picks up an axe in a threatening manner, I said to her, “Can I ax you a question?”
The movie also does the overused technique of bookending the story with Melinda (Henson) telling her story to a psychiatrist, before jumping into flashbacks (which they unwisely choose to continue narrating).
This is part of her court-ordered anger management, after stalking her ex-husband Robert (Lyriq Bent of She’s Gotta Have It).
We watch (and listen) to the story of how they met in college. It’s not one of those meet-cute moments. In fact, when they run into each other and her papers spill onto the ground, he’s apologetic as he picks up her work. She wails punches on him. If that isn’t a red flag, perhaps it’s later in the story when after he takes her virginity…she catches him with another woman and rams her jeep into his mobile home. It almost killed them, but hey…why not marry the dude. After all, he’s extremely smart (he gave her corrections on her paper, and tutored her). He’s also working on an environmental friendly battery. That means we’ll get to spend an hour of the movie watching him go all Pursuit of Happyness trying to sell it, while his wife works two jobs. It’s at that point that we realize we actually hate both these characters, and don’t root for either of them.
In one of many moments I found funny, Melinda sternly says, “Every time a black woman gets mad, she’s a stereotype.”
Well, with this and Diary of a Mad Black Woman, maybe it’s Tyler Perry that’s creating the stereotype. It’s amazing that Oprah doesn’t pull her billionaire friend aside and say, “Dude, what are you doing? Your movies are crap.” After all, she isn’t shy about knocking rappers and saying she’ll never have them on her show.
The premise of this movie could’ve worked. If…Perry didn’t write, director, and produce it. And if it had an entirely different cast. There’s something about a narrator, that we realize has anger issues, telling us a story; and because of her anger, we start to wonder just how reliable she is when she claims she’s being conned by this guy. Maybe she’s conning us with her craziness.
The supporting characters are also dopey and unrealistic. A pair of sisters that try to tell her how bad her man is. Their husbands, that always stand behind them trying to calm them down when they get too upset. And if the sisters realize she’s crazy, I have the same question I had for the characters that set up Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook: why are they setting up their nutty sister with a friend of theirs?
The logic of most of the characters makes little sense, and the movie is also filmed with ridiculous contrivances (for example, the woman he had the affair with in college, now happens to work at the company he’s spent 20 years trying to get a meeting with to show off his battery).
Nobody should waste their money seeing this. It might only work if you have a group of friends, and want to play a drinking game watching it at home. Every time Henson says “bitch” — take a drink. Every time a man is nude — another drink. Every drag on a cigarette — a drink. When something is thrown threw a car window — drink.
After watching this trash, I could use a drink.