Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Being neither mad, black, or a woman, I guess it's not too surprising that I didn't really enjoy Diary of a Mad Black Woman. But maybe it should be surprising. A really good movie transcends its target audience, but clearly, this movie does not, despite a very funny turn by its writer, Tyler Perry, as the grandmother, Madea.
The movie is essentially a girl done wrong by a bastard of a man story. A very successful lawyer literally throws his wife of 18 years out of their house, while his mistress watches. The wife, Helen (Kimberly Elise) then goes to stay with relatives who all assure her that her husband just didn't know what to do with a good woman. The assumption from the beginning is that her husband is a bastard and she is a good woman, simply because she is a woman. Of course the fact that she knew her husband was cheating and chose to meekly stand by and watch it happen instead of taking action and moving on with her life, is never really brought up for consideration. I'm not defending her husband's actions, although they're so over the top bad as to be comical, merely questioning this movie's definition of a good woman. Obviously good and strong are two separate concepts here.
Helen finds shelter in Madea's house. Madea (Tyler Perry), is an old school, take no shit from anybody, carry a handgun, old woman. She encourages Helen to stand up for herself and move on with her life. Madea steals every scene that she's in and is quite funny. Sadly, she's not in enough scenes.
The other scenes are taken up with too many subplots. Helen falls in love with a guy who appears to have stepped out of the pages of a "Perfect Man" article in a woman's magazine. He's so sensitive and caring that he's down right boring. There's another subplot involving one of Helen's relatives who's a drug addict, and another with Helen's ex-husband defending a gangster. All these subplots really do is stretch the movie out and allow Tyler Perry to play two other parts besides Madea.
As a comedy this movie works. As a love story, the movie contains no sparks. The dialogue is stilted and unnatural, which belittles the drama.
Since this movie had such a strong opening weekend, I'm sure we'll be seeing a sequel. I only hope when it comes out that it's better than this one.
Photos © Copyright Lions Gate (2005)