Monday, January 25, 2010

AB Goes To Redbox - Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself.

[Editor's Note: Yes, I realize EbonyGentleman reviewed this months ago. Consider this an addendum of sorts.]

As ya'll know, I'm at peace with Tyler Perry. Many months ago, I finally came to the conclusion that Perry was no more a perpetuator of stereotypical images than any other person in the media, and it's unfair for everyone to pile on him. Simply put, the guy is a hustler, and just because his hustle doesn't appeal to me personally doesn't mean somebody doesn't like it. And apparently, given Perry's box office success, there are lots of somebodies who enjoy and occasional mindless diversion from everyday life, my spouse included. Nuff' said.

With that stated, I Can Do Bad All By Myself was the first TP movie whose previews looked so bad that even my wife didn't want to both seeing it in the theaters. Instead of dropping $40 to go see this, we waited a few weeks and caught the Redbox rental for a mere dollar. If you ain't familiar with Redbox, get familiar. And no, that is not a paid endorsement, just like my months and months of free ads for Netflix weren't a paid endorsement. Reality is, if you want to save money, and are only really interested in new releases, Redbox >>>>> Netflix. On the other end of the spectrum, watching grass grow >>>>> BlockBuster. Man, when did that franchise fall so far the eff' off?

But I digress, I Can Do Bad All By Myself was a hard movie to categorize from the trailers, and its an even harder movie to categorize in totality. A boozy, floozy cabaret singer named April (Taraji P. Henson) finds her life turned upside down when she is forced to take in her sister's children after their grandmother goes mysteriously missing. The long neglected kids shine the light on just how cruddy April's life really is. She curses like a sailor, beds a married man who pays all her bills, and has completely cut off the rest of her family. The house only gets more crowded when April takes in a mysterious Latin drifter (Adam Rodriguez) as a favor to the local pastor. Lots of gospel sanging, crying, flashbacks to childhood horrors, and the obligatory "come to Jesus" church scene ensue. If you can't see how this movie will unfold as the opening credits are running, then clearly you've never seen a TP movie.

I'll just be honest: this movie is pretty lousy. Henson does her best to rise above the hamhanded dialogue, but there's only so much she can do. This movie is just so terribly overridden with cliches (abusive boyfriend, too cute kids, prince charming), it's almost laughable that anyone would consider this a quality film. Perhaps worst of all is the location. This movie is the first to be shot entirely on the premises of Perry's brand new Atlanta studios, and it's so obvious the film is shot on a backlot that it's comical. The same car is seen coming out of the same driveway 5 times during a single scene. The set is supposed to be "Atlanta", but when I last checked, ATL didn't have New York style brownstones. I'm happy Perry was able to pull off such an entrepreneurial feat, but for a guy who unusually has a decent eye for the camera, this all just comes off as so cheesy. I realize it's cheaper to make movies this way, as opposed to on location, but Lord, the end result looks like a cross between a telenovella and a Sci-Fi Channel Original movie. Sorry for getting all technical on ya'll, but this was just inexcusable.

In the end, this movie is little more than disposable entertainment, but it's easily Perry's worst movie yet, and that's saying a lot.

Final Verdict - Hey, it's just $1. If this is your thing, hit the Redbox. 1.5 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Did you see I Can Do Bad All By Myself?!?

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