|Available at Amazon.com|
Another step forward for Tyler Perry’s directorial film career.
In my previous review of Tyler Perry’s last big-screen film, Daddy’s Little Girls, I stated that Perry had improved on making movies. While his first three films, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, and Daddy’s Little Girls were relative successes at the box office, they only really appealed to Perry’s core audience. Perry seems to be determined to switch up things with every film he makes, though, in hopes that his films do in fact reach a larger audience. His first two films had his infamous character, Madea, involved heavily, but in Daddy’s Little Girls Madea was nowhere to be found. Once again, Perry decides to mix things up a bit with his latest film offering, Why Did I Get Married?.
Why Did I Get Married is all about the difficulty of maintaining a solid relationship in modern times. Angela (Tasha Smith), a forceful, hard-drinking woman who speaks the truth with a no holds barred attitude, is frustrated with her husband Marcus (Michael Jai White), a former pro athlete who has children with another woman who keeps interfering with their marriage. Marcus also has a secret that he shares with his male friends. Terry (Tyler Perry) is a frustrated pediatrician who can’t stop his dedicated wife Diane (Sharon Leal) from working constantly. Psychologist Patricia (Janet Jackson) and her architect husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) never break the tension in their marriage by talking about a disaster that continues to haunt them both. Finally, Sheila (Jill Scott), whose husband Mike (Richard T. Jones) never stops belittling her for gaining weight. These eight married middle-to-upper class college friends, plus one other non-friend, go to Colorado for their annual week-long reunion, but the mood shifts when one couple’s infidelity comes to light. Secrets are revealed and each couple begins to question their own marriage. Over the course of the week, the couples battle with issues of commitment, betrayal and forgiveness and examine their lives as individuals and as committed couples.
As with his previous films, Tyler Perry is more concerned with the message in this movie than the story. The story here is relatively simple, and it’s a pretty big task to keep track of all the characters on the screen. But it’s not as hard as it sounds. There is some comedy in Why Did I Get Married?, but the vast majority of this film is heavy drama. Some would argue “melodrama.” But the message is clear for this film. Honesty, communication, and respect for your partner is key in any marriage worth saving.
Tyler Perry decided to get back in front of the camera for Why Did I Get Married?, but once again Madea is absent here. That goes back to the type of film this is. There is really no time for Madea’s antics. That’s a good thing as the real Tyler Perry is not that bad of an actor. In addition to Perry himself, perhaps the biggest “name” he got to star in this film is Janet Jackson. Many don’t think of her as an actress, even though she does have a lot of background in that field (see Poetic Justice or The Nutty Professor sequel). She might be slightly in over her head as the star of the film here, but she really doesn’t have to be the star. This turns out to be an ensemble cast with everyone playing their roles to moderate success. Much credit should be given to Jill Scott, who really comes off as being the real standout of this film if there has to be one.
But with all the improvements that were made by Perry in this film, there are still some elements that he needs to work on. Most notably is the over-dramatics. This film really has a soap opera feel to it. It’s one thing to be dramatic in a movie like this, but it’s another to be too dramatic and at times Perry crosses that line. Some will say that is his trademark, and that may be true but he will never appeal to a larger audience until he tones done that aspect of his films a little bit.
Tyler Perry continues to be a very polarizing director. Fans of his work will enjoy this film just as much. However, Perry made decent strides in expanding his audience with this film as well. Perry’s ultimate message about marriage should be something that every married couple can relate to. Why Did I Get Married does get a little over-the-top at times, though, but nowhere near as much as Perry’s previous films. That’s a step in the right direction and no one can hate him for that.
The video is given in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. Nothing special, but on par with other new release DVDs. No majors problems at all here.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound, or Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. No problems here either as the music and dialogue come out loud and clear.
“Janet Jackson: Return of an Icon” Featurette – This is a 6 minute feature about Janet Jackson. This is her first movie in 6 or 7 years. We talk to Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson, and other various members of the cast and crew talking about Janet’s role in this movie and what it was like to work with her. Nothing that insightful, but just a closer look at Janet in this film.
“Reflections on Getting ‘Married'” Featurette – We get 7 minutes about the question “Why Did I Get Married?” We hear from the cast and crew about marriage and divorce and all of the things discussed in the movie. It’s interesting to hear what the cast thinks of marriage and this movie.
“The Music of ‘Married'” Featurette – This is a 8 minute featurette on the music in the movie, of course. Aaron Zigman, the composer for the film, leads us through the process of recording music for this film. Music is actually a bigger part in this film than other Tyler Perry films. You definitely notice the music more here probably because it’s mainly a drama. So this is a good look at that whole process and the reasons why certain music is selected for certain scenes or characters.
If you like Tyler Perry’s previous plays or films, you will enjoy this. If you are a hardcore Tyler Perry fan, you will want to add this to your collection. I can only recommend a rental at best for everyone else, though. If you have never seen Perry’s work before, then give this film a shot. It still is too melodramatic and preachy for some, but this is Perry’s best film yet. Of course, Madea lovers will want to avoid this.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment presents Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married. Written and Directed by Tyler Perry. Starring Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, Malik Yoba, Sharon Leal, Tasha Smith, Michael Jai White, Richard T. Jones, and Lamman Rucker. Running time: 118 minutes.PG-13. Released on DVD: February 12, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.