Let me say something about myself before I talk about the movie. I don’t try to be snobby about the movies I like. I’m no more qualified to critique a movie then the next person. However, let me pose this question…does a person have to know how to sing to appreciate a beautiful voice? Hell no. I’m no Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey, but I know lousy singing when I hear it, and I know a good voice when I hear it. Similarly, I’ve never written or directed a movie (yet), but I know good movies when I see ‘em. And I know bad ones…so keep that in mind as you read this review.
When it comes to writer/director/actor Tyler Perry, I think his motto should be “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He has a loyal fanbase, and has been a cash cow for Lions Gate the past few years. Black folks are gonna show up for Tyler Perry’s movies, period. My friends and I had to try not one, not two, but three theaters before we were able to find a show that wasn’t sold out. I’ve never seen any of Perry’s films before, and I was looking forward to taking in this movie, largely because of its appealing ensemble cast. I was hoping for an entertaining and thoughtful drama that explored the difficulties that married couples face. Why Did I Get Married? has drawn obvious comparisons to the 1980’s drama The Big Chill, which also involves a group of married friends who reunite at a vacation home, where secrets are revealed and relationships are tested. Perry admits he hasn’t seen The Big Chill. Maybe he should have. If he would’ve ripped it off he might have turned out with a better movie.
Why Did I Get Married? is pleasing to look at it, well-intentioned, and entertaining. However, the characters and the storyline were utterly predictable, and completely one-dimensional. The movie is about four couples who gather periodically for a retreat/vacation to bond, reflect, and learn about one another. This year the group agrees to meet at a cabin in the snowy mountains of Colorado. Terry (Tyler Perry) and Diane (Sharon Leal of Dreamgirls) are a doctor and lawyer, respectively. Janet Jackson (The Nutty Professor) is Patricia, an award-winning psychiatrist and author. Her husband is Gavin (Malik Yoba), a successful architect. Angela (Tasha Smith of ATL) and Marcus provide the comic relief as sharp-tongued shrew and hen-pecked hubby. Rounding out the cast are Mike (Richard T. Jones of The Wood and Kiss The Girls) and Sheila, played by the lovely Jill Scott. The couples suffer from varying degrees of dysfunction, from the obvious to the hidden. Mike is a grade-A asshole, berating Sheila at every turn. It’s unbelievable that the two were ever married in the first place. And that’s the problem. Terry’s characters are unnecessarily overdrawn and completely over-the-top. It’s like he dumbed it down. I wanted to say, we get it, Mike’s a jerk! His character was almost a caricature, and it detracted from the movie by adding a degree of absurdity. Speaking of detractions, there were SEVERAL times during the movie where a microphone could be seen in the shot. Apparently this only happened in my particular showing (go figure), but it was a major drawback. It was hard to take the movie seriously when in the middle of a dramatic scene the damn mic is hanging down. Back to the performances. Everyone did a good job, with what they were given. There were several funny moments, but some of the scenes were a lesson in overkill. It’s like Perry used a sledgehammer to nail in a thumbtack. But hey, like I said; if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If you want to see an attractive cast in a funny and occasionally entertaining movie, check it out. If you’re looking for a provocative movie that will play out better than an episode of The Young and The Restless, maybe you should take a pass. Why Did I Get Married? might have you asking Why Did I See This Movie?