Tyler Perry. I don’t fool with him too tough, but I saw Meet the Browns anyway – mostly just to hang out with my mom. I’ll try to go easy on Mr. Perry this time. The movie actually wasn’t half bad…which also means it was only half good. LOL.
One positive thing about the movie was that it starred Angela Basset (Akeelah and the Bee), with whom you can never go wrong. My only criticism (if you could call it that) of her is the same one I had of Forrest Whitaker in Vantage Point, which is that sometimes they come across as being bigger than their roles. In Meet the Browns Bassett portrays Brenda, a financially strapped single mom living in Chicago with her three children. Her eldest son is an aspiring professional basketball player (Lance Gross), and she is challenged with keeping him off the streets after he tries to hustle to provide money for the family when Brenda loses her job. Yeah, that part is a bit cliché, but okay – I can deal with that. I’m sure it’s not too far from a lot of people’s reality, especially in urban areas across the U.S. Rick Fox is a basketball coach named Harry who takes an interest in Brenda’s son. Brenda is naturally wary of him, as she’s been burnt by every man in her life, from her son’s father to her own father, whom she never knew. Again, this is familiar territory; we know how it’ll end. Boy meets girl. Girl disses boy. Boy wins girl in the end….yaaay! Can I go home now? Seriously, I don’t mind if I know how a movie will end up, at least let me have fun getting there. To Perry’s credit, Meet the Browns is funny. A large portion of the movie takes place in Georgia, where Brenda travels when she finds out that her father has passed away. As the title suggests, she meets her relatives for the first time, and this is where the comedic action takes place. Perry does a good job of balancing drama with humor, and he does allow Bassett to show her skills…my only negative observation is the writing. In some places the script is very contrived. I know that’s the nature of the movies, in some respects, but come on. For example, Harry just so happens to be from the same small Georgia town as Brenda’s family, and they meet up there. What??? Yeah RIGHT! They met in the large metropolis of Chicago, yet they both have roots in some podunk Georgia town and reconnect there. I mean, it’s not even like its Atlanta or something, which would still be implausible but a little more believable. They both are from a one horse town…just not buying it. Another thing I don’t care for is Madea, but that’s just me. “Her” appearance was really unnecessary and not all that funny. It was just an excuse for Perry to show up in his own movie. Don’t worry TP, we know it’s your movie – your name always precedes the title.
In sum, as with all of Perry’s movies, either you like ‘em or you don’t. Simple as that. Nothing I’ve said here will persuade or dissuade you from seeing it. So, have at it! 🙂