Wednesday, September 24, 2008

AverageBro Goes To The Movies: Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys.

[With a toddler, I don't get to the movies much. And don't be deceived, I didn't go there to see this nonsense either. I "acquired" a copy of this movie and only watched it because I'm on the road this week and didn't have anything better to do.]

After I paid to see that debacle of a movie, Meet The Browns, I told ya'll I wasn't messin' with Tyler Perry no more. Dude is just too inconsistent. He gives you a decent movie like Why Did I Get Married?, or Daddy's Little Girls, but sandwiches them with stinkers like Madea's Family Reunion and Diary of a Mad Black Woman just to keep you guessing. If this were baseball, his miss/hit/miss/miss/miss pattern would have him hovering around the Mendoza line.

The Family That Preys can't quite figure out what sort of movie it wants to be. There's lots of plots and subplots going on that should be interrelated but really aren't. Two matriarchs and lifelong buddies, a wealthy socialite (Kathy Bates) and a soul food restaurateur (Alfre Woodard) have an unlikely friendship, and find themselves on a girls-only cross country trip. Ok, got it? On the other end of the spectrum, the womens' kids find themselves mixed up in some truly scandalous ongoings in Corporate America. It's almost like Perry wanted to make two separate movies, but only got greenlit for one and just decided to wing it, hoping we wouldn't notice. It doesn't matter, both movies would have sucked separately. The net result of the combined effort also sucks.

Let's just agree on one thing: Sanaa Lathan is nice looking, but she couldn't deliver a line if she drove a Verizon truck. It almost pains me to write that, but the more movies she pops up in, the less I find myself liking her. At least from an acting standpoint. Here, she plays the villain, a ruthless and callous woman who demeans her blue collar husband (the annoying Rockmond Dunbar, who still acts like Kenny in Soul Food) and sleeps around with her boss (Cole Hauser). Her sister (Tarajii P. Henson) is married to another construction worker played by Tyler Perry himself, in the worst hairpiece seen on film since Samuel Jackson's faux cornrows in Formula 51.

Any movie that climaxes with a woman being b*tchslapped by her husband as a blatant ploy to elicit applause from the audience is clearly pandering to lowbrow sentiments. Alfre Woodard was once a respectable actress and it's a shame she and Cathy Bates have to spend the twilight of their careers is this sort of cluster. Although this movie is supposed to be a serious drama, its lack of cohesion, lack of likable characters, and see-it-coming-a-mile-away plot condemn it to a life of TNT reruns. But despite Perry's exclusive broadcast rights on TBS, this movie ain't even good enough for a Turner network. It doesn't even deserve to be on Lifetime. It shoulda gona straight to Blockbuster. The only thing this bad movie was missing was the obligatory Bokeem Woodbine cameo.

If you need the temporary diversion from everyday life, for God sakes go read a book or learn a new dance or something. Don't waste any money or 111 precious minutes of your life on this boring drivel.

Final Verdict: Do like I did and "acquire" a copy if you really must see this. Otherwise, wait a few months and it'll surely be the lead-in to Tyler Perry's House Of Payne by Christmas. 2.5 Stars (out of 5)

Question: Did you see Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys? Is it just me, or can Sanaa Lathan not act?

Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys [Yahoo! Movies]

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