Wednesday, September 23, 2009 Guest Movie Review - Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself.

[Editor's Note: As ya'll know, I've made my peace with Tyler Perry, and more or less accept his movies for what they are. That said, I'm especially grateful that AverageSis seems to have totally forgotten that this movie was released, thus sparing me the torture of watching and reviewing it. Unfortunately, EbonyGentleman wasn't so lucky. And just as a word of warning, this is more of a Cliff Notes version of the movie than an actual review. Spoilers ahead. If you were planning on dropping $40 on this, you should prolly pass.]

I hit the movie theaters sporadically now. When I lived in Atlanta, GA in 2000, my buddy and I would hit the AMC 24 in Jonesboro nearly every Friday night. It was the spot to be for young folks with plenty of extra cash to blow. At nearly every new blockbuster and black comedy that released, my pal and I would be getting tickets, gawking at the perfect 10 female Atlanta Peaches, hot cars and living the prime of youth.

Ah, how I sometimes miss the olden days of big money, watching the prostitutes walk on Metropolitan (Stuart) Avenue in front of all of the Strip Clubs and trying to live "the life."

Fast forward to 2009, and I'm married, dang near broke, dang near dead with a heart condition and lucky enough to afford buffet at the local pizza joint.

So it was with a heavy sigh that I promised my wife that I would take her to see Tyler Perry's new celluloid. I'd sworn off Perry's stuff recently because I figured that he'd become the T.D. Jakes of cinema, only to serve the needs of his female viewers rather than give the men (who mostly bring them) something to smile about.


"I can Do Bad" is your typical Madea movie. That's not to say that it's a bad movie by any means. It's pretty good by THAT standard, if a little long. For those that have watched Tyler's previous works, this is essentially a carbon copy of them.

Taraji P. Henson plays a nightclub singer named April who's addicted to alcohol, cigarettes and is sleeping around with a married man named Randy (Brian White). She's very selfish and really doesn't care about anything else. Randy, on the other hand, is a buffed up mean S.O.B. He has a bad attitude and likes to intimidate others. He's also helping April pay the bills around the raggedy house that she inherited.

While April is doing her thing at the club owned by her pal Tanya (Mary J. Blige), a break-in is happening at Madea's House. Madea finds three kids trying to steal a VCR. She and and her brother Joe (Tyler Perry) proceed to smack the kids around a bit before sitting them down at her kitchen table.

The kids: Jennifer (Hope Wilson), Manny (Kwesi Boakye) and a challenged younger brother named Byron (Frederick Siglar) confess to Madea that they haven't eaten in four days. Their grandmother "Mama" Rose has been missing and no one has been able to care for them since their mother died. Madea feeds the kids while Joe talks his usual trash. Manny tells Madea that the only other relative they have is their Aunt April (Henson).

The next morning at April's, Randy is getting dressed when his wife calls his cell. After the brief convo, Randy tells April that his wife is pregnant. This is Randy's seventh or eighth kid (I lost count) and he tells April that he HATES kids because child support payments are hurting that wallet. He rolls out and April tries to go back to sleep.

Her rest is interrupted when Madea and the kids show up. April initially denies them until one of the kids speaks out. April learns about the kids actions and her mother's disappearance and agrees to let the kids stay temporarily until Rose is found. Madea and April make a deal to let the kids work off the damages at Madea's house.

April gets into it with Jennifer (who also has a bad attitude), and it is here that's it's revealed that the kid's mother was a crackhead and died from the drug abuse. April leaves the kids to fend for themselves in the living room and goes back to sleep.

At the nearby church with Pastor Brian (Marvin Winans) a food drive is going on. The Pastor and his fellow member Wilma (Gladys Knight) meet up with an old friend named Sandino (Adam Rodriguez). Sandino tells the two that he remembered the Pastor from a missionary work in South America and is in the USA to start a new life. He's homeless and jobless however, but he's a talented handyman. Pastor Brian arranges for Sandino to do repair work in the church and find him a place to stay.

That place is, you guessed it: April's house.

While these two are negotiating, Jennifer is seen running from a store near the church and is captured by the owner at the church steps. The shopkeeper tells the Pastor that she was caught stealing syringe needles. Pastor Brian makes peace and the shopkeeper lets her go. Jennifer tells the pastor of all that has happened. Rose is a member of the church and lives next door to Wilma. No one has seen her.

Pastor Brian visits April, brings back Jennifer and asks her to lodge Sandino. She begrudgingly agrees and Sandino offers to help fix up the house in exchange. Jennifer explains why she stole the needles. Manny is a diabetic and desperately needs his insulin.

Later on, Randy comes back and sees the kids and Sandino. He does his "bad mofo" shtick, calls Sandino 'Mexico' and 'illegal', and starts eyeballing the 16 year old Jennifer lustfully. Sandino doesn't reply, but acts intimidated at Randy's insults. At the nightclub, Wilma tries to talk to April but she's not having it. So Wilma is asked to come onstage and sing a song (to uplift her). It's a magical scene and Gladys Knight still has that touch.

About halfway into the film, we learn that Mama Rose died on a bus of a brain aneurysm and had been dead a week. Because no one bothered to visit the morgue, she was cremated. Pastor Brian and Wilma bring her ashes back to April, who now realizes that she's the sole caretaker of her sister's kids. Sandino is there to comfort her and starts his role as "Heaven Sent Good Man". They both spend time with each other, even going to CHURCH together. (By the way, the church scene was about 10 minutes TOO long.)

Mary J. Blige does her part as "Sista RealTalk" and sings a Chick Anthem. Madea tries to give good Biblical advice (which is ALL F'ed up) to Jennifer who's facing a possibility of living in a Foster home. Sandino has fixed up an old room in April's house for the kids. While Manny and Byron is happy about the new room, Jennifer tells her brothers that April doesn't want them there, and they will continue to sleep in the living room until they have to leave.

Near the end, while Jennifer is getting an insulin shot for Manny, Randy tries to rape her. Sandino comes in like Hacksaw Jim Duggan and whacks Randy with a 2X4. They start brawling and Sandino is winning the fight until April walks in. Sandino's holding a crying Jennifer and explains to April what Randy did. Randy lies and says that April tried to sex him up for money. April says she believes Randy and goes upstairs.

Now the big scene.

Randy is in the tub nursing his wounds. April asks him what happened and Randy lies again. April sees thru the lies and gets a boombox and plugs it in. She threatens to drop it into the tub with Randy who is now no longer the "bad mofo" he was earlier the film. April goes on a tirade about how she was nearly raped and how Randy was just like the man who tried to do it to her.

In goes the BoomBox.....



(I looked at my wife and said, "I DID NOT PAY TO SEE THAT." Because I knew what it meant. The audience popped. The women whooped and hollered. To be fair, the nudity was brief but still, Tyler has done it again. I swear, I think he loves seeing naked and half naked men. I'll say it now, Tyler Perry is going to come out in the near future.)

Anyway, April is so pissed off that she's off on another drunken binge at Tanya's Bar. Sandino kicks out Randy, takes his key, secures the kids and goes to talk to April. April in her drunkenness accuses Sandino of looking at Jennifer and being a child molester.(?!?!) She questions him about why he cares for those kids so much, and Sandino give a tirade about how he was involved in underage labor back in South America, and was a victim of abuse. After more back and forth from these two, April tells Sandino to leave the house.

Sandino goes back and says goodbye to the kids and tells them that he will stay in touch with them. The following morning, April and Jennifer reconcile and April agrees to let the kids stay for good. While going thru some of her mother's things that Wilma dropped off the movie goes the route of 'The Color Purple':

The church just happens to sing one of "Mama Rose's" favorite songs, so loud in fact that April can hear it. She starts singing, including jump cuts of her drinking coffee and smoking a cig. Sandino is in the church and goes up for prayer. Jennifer tells April that Sandino is a good man and she shouldn't let him go, and starts repeating the same Bible Stories that Madea told her.

Then Sandino enters. The dialog gets so sappy here that YOU WILL CRINGE when you hear it. Sandino tells April that he loves her. They kiss, and the camera cuts to the church where we see Sandino and April after their wedding. They dance out into the street Breakin 2' style for their Wedding Block Party starring Mary J. Blige who gives us one more Chick Anthem for the road.

Fade to Black....(with outtakes).

EG's Final Verdict: Considering what I was working with, and how I didn't have high expectations for the film in the first place. My wife liked the film and is happy about it, so I'm happy that she's happy. 2.5 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Did you see this film? What are your thoughts on it?

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