Sunday, March 23, 2008

AverageBro Goes To The Movies: Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns

[With a toddler, I don't get to go to the movies at all nowadays. Pre-AverageBaby, I didn't miss an opening weekend. Now, Netflix is my best friend. So, I don't see things in a timely manner, but when I do, you get the best review in town right here.]

Okay, he got me this time.

Silly of me to think that after turning a corner with a string of semi-decent movies like Daddy's Little Girls and Why Did I Get Married?, Tyler Perry would keep the streak alive with his latest offering, Meet The Browns. I've been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok, and I have nobody to blame but myself.

When I saw this trailer, I shoulda known better.

All the elements of a truly bad black movie were right there, but did I listen to my Inner Negro? Nooooo.

I remember seeing some of the stage play that this movie is based loosely on when my relatives bought the bootleg from Detroit a few summers back. It was so godawful I had to leave the house. If only movies came with some kinda money back guarantee. Then I coulda just left the theater on G.P.

The plot, which seems cribbed from about 20 different episodes of Good Times, features Angela Bassett as Brenda, a Chicago single mom of 3 kids by 3 different dads, none of whom is present. Rather than trying to make some statement of how bad this woman's choices are, the flick delves right into the typical "Triflin' Nigga/BabyDaddy with a family on the other side of town" angle to make you feel somehow bad for Brenda, who can't keep the lights on when she loses her factory job, yet always seems to have a fresh hairdo and tight gear. Brenda finds out her father (whom, surprise, she's never met before) died in Georgia, and packs up her clan to go down South to the funeral. There she meets a gaggle of long-lost and unknown relatives, and finds herself and her hoops prodigy son courted by a seedy coach played by ex-NBA Baller and Mr. Vanessa Williams, Rick Fox.

Sorry, I can't even write this review with a straight face, just like I couldn't manage to watch this lazily manufactured "drama" without laughing uncontrollable at times. Reality is, I couldn't help but watch this cluster and think about just how badly Angela Bassett's career has careened out of control. Here's a woman that deserved an Academy Award for What's Love Got To Do With It?, reduced to Loretta Devine status, and her "mail it in" performance shows she clearly just wanted some pocket money. The dialogue in this movie, even during the rare serious parts is so hackneyed a 3rd grader could have written it. The clichés (teenage son who does poorly in school, plays basketball, deals drugs, and is the man of the house; the saucy and stereotypically oversexed Latina best friend; the stumbling bumbling non-talking Southern patriarch, the all-knowing "Big Mama") are piled on heavy. You can sniff out the formulaic storybook ending while the popcorn's still warm.

I expected James Evans, Penny, and Bookman to pop up at any moment.

Since I'm somewhat on topic, how about I get this one off my chest... what's with the horrible depictions of black men in every one of Tyler Perry's movies? Okay, we get it Tyler, all black men are cheating, lying, child support dodging canines who secretly covet white women. We get it, we get it, we get it already! Black men ain't sh*t! Okay, message delivered! But do you have to rub this in our faces during every damn movie? If I wanted to be insulted, I could just save the $40 and watch Fox News for a few hours.

And is it just me, or does anyone else notice that the only unflawed black males characters in all Tyler Perry movies are played by... guess who... wait for it... Tyler Perry? Hmmmmmm. I smell a Grand Hu$tle here.

In short, this movie was sooo bad on sooo many levels, and I guess it proves either of two things:

A) I'm just too smart for this kinda dumb movie.


B) AverageSis is right, I can't just "be in the moment" and enjoy something for what it is.

If you saw Meet the Browns, you tell me which one's the right answer.

If you didn't see Meet The Browns, please wait for Netflix. If you just wanna burn $20 that badly, buy an t-shirt.

Final Verdict: If your neighbor has the bootleg, borrow it. If you've gotta see it, at least go to the matinee. Then again, if you watched the trailer and liked it, go see it, because while I thought the movie sucked, the rest of the theater seemed to enjoy it. Maybe it's just me. 2 Stars (Out of 5)

Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns [Yahoo! Movies]

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