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October 2007

By Wilson Morales



Distributor: Lionsgate
Director: Tyler Perry
Producer: Reuben Cannon & Tyler Perry
Co-Producers: Roger M. Bobb & Joseph P. Grenier
Screenwriter: Tyler Perry
Cast: Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson, Malik Yoba, Jill Scott, Sharon Leal, Tasha Smith, Michael Jai White, Denise Boutte, Lamann Rucker, Richard T. Jones, and Keesha Sharp



Although his films have been more successful financially than the average Black film, Tyler Perry had never received the best of reviews from critics. Some could argue that the writing is poor and contrived, but others love it. His ‘Madea’ films are adaptations from the plays and folks come to support, and yet he can’t get over the hump of getting someone of record to say something really positive. With his fourth feature film, “Why Did I Get Married?”, Tyler Perry has a winner in the making. Not only is the writing sharp and candid, but the acting from the ensemble cast, including Perry himself, are aces across the board. Not since Malcolm Lee’s Best Man has there been a Black film that dealt with college educated black individuals dealing with middle-class growing pains of life. You will laugh, you may cry, but you will enjoy this film. This is his best film to date.

Written by Perry, the story is about eight successful individuals (4 couples) who decide to get together at a retreat in the Colorado mountains. Terry, a doctor (Perry) and Diane (Leal), a partner at a law firm, are the first to arrive, having driven in and arguing in the car about Diane being more committed to her work than to her husband. They are then joined by Patricia (Jackson), a successful psychologist and author and her husband Gavin (Yoba), an architect. Patricia is the brains behind getting everyone together since they rarely have time to speak or see each other. Coming in by train are the combative couple, Angela (Smith), a hair salon business owner, and Marcus (White), her husband who works for her and has kids by another woman. The minute they get on the train to when they get to the retreat is nothing but arguments left and right. It looks like they’ve been at this for years. Last, we have Sheila (Scott) and Mike (Jones), who decided to bring Trina, Sheila’s friend (Boutte), since there was a spare bed in the house. A single woman in the house makes all the women nervous, especially Angela, who brought her vasaline and sneakers just in case. As the men huddle together and spill beans about some of their marriage woes, the women do the same until all secrets are laid out in the open, and the strength of being married is put to the test.

To reveal more would be spoiling it for you. Perry has put together a very sharp story filled with emotion, despair, romance, and plenty of laughs. As stated before, the acting by the ensemble is amazing. Jackson, who hasn’t had a real role since she did John Singleton’s Poetic Justice is back in good form. Jill Scott is a revelation! For her film debut, she clearly demonstrates that she has the chops to be better than some of the actresses who have been at this for years. From “Guilding Light” to “Boston Public” to Dreamgirls”, Leal is a leading lady to watch out for. Her time has come. The scene stealer and the anchor of the film is Tasha Smith as the no-nonsense, ain’t-having-it, sassy wife Angela. Without her quick wit and emotion outbursts, this film would be bland. She’s the glue that keeps the film being bland. As for the men, it’s nice to see Perry be an actor for once, without the Madea persona. He and every one of the guys play ordinary guys with problems that some may relate to. Everyone of Perry’s film has the man you love to hate and here, it’s Richard T. Jones, and he plays it very well. I wouldn’t want to be him walking in the streets next to a woman who just saw the film. Her mind may still be in the movie and inflict some bodily harm on him. Known more for his physique than for his acting, Michael Jai White makes sure women get their money’s worth, as well as let them see that he can act in a dramatic role when given the chance. Also expected within a Perry film are the spiritual messages, but it’s not overused here as in his other films.

Based on the theatrical play but without the singing, “Why Did I Get Married?” is a very enlightening, romantic, emotional, uplifting, and universal film that should please all.