What can you say about Tyler Perry? It can’t be denied that Perry is one of the most successful and polarizing personalities in entertainment today with people either loving him, remaining indifferent to him,or straight up loathing him. Personally, I fit more into the neutral category in regards to him. On one hand, I think he isn’t that half-bad of an actor, as he is very charismatic and can be very charming. But on the other hand, his screenplays are among the most cliched train-wrecks I have ever had the displeasure of sitting through. As evidence, let’s take a look at Perry’s debut film (both acting and as a screenwriter), which also happens to be the first entry in the Madea franchise. That’s right folks, I am going to review Tyler Perry’s 2005 romance comedy-drama, Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Helen McCarter (Kimberly Elise) is a happily married woman who is married to her husband of 18 years, Charles (Steve Harris), who is a very rich attorney. On the night of their anniversary, however, Charles is found with another woman and then tells that he is divorcing Helen and kicks her out of their house, with only a Uhaul truck, driven by obvious love interest Orlando (Shemar Moore). Helen is now taken in by her crazy grandmother, Madea (Tyler Perry), and now has to survive as an independent woman who need no man but is also trying to find that second opportunity at love.
Okay, let’s get the positives out of the way before I tear into this. One thing that genuinely shocked me was that, even though the writing is utter garbage, the acting is surprisingly good, especially from Elise, Harris, and Moore who play their roles with 100% gusto, trying as hard as they can to salvage their lines. I’ll also admit that there were a few times in the movie where I kind of half-smiled at the comedy, but those times were rare. And that’s all I have to say about the positives.
As for the negatives, oh boy there are a lot of them. While there were times I smirked at the comedy, for the most part, the annoying, psychotic screeches of Madea running around and flailing her arms drove me insane and made me actually yell at the movie to shut up. A minor complaint I have with this movie is that there are a ton of characters with a ton of subplots, which becomes tiring after a while and half-way through the movie, it becomes aggravating.
But my biggest problem with the movie is how predictable it is. In film, predictability isn’t that bad for the movie as a whole, but you need to balance that out with twists and turns which has people guessing what happens next. If during the entire movie, you can predict everything that is going to happen as soon as something is set-up, what’s the point of even watching? You know that Helen and Orlando are going to get together at the end, you know that Charles is going to be hit by kharma, and you know everything is going to turn out fine for the main characters in the end, which isn’t helped by the fact that the writing and characters are so transparent and so…… boring. This is a really boring movie. This is one of the most boring movies I have ever seen in my life. Had I not wanted to do a review on a Tyler Perry movie, I would have fell asleep.
This may be my shortest review I have ever published, and I wish I had more to say about this movie, but the simple thing is that this movie just blows. Laughably transparent and two-dimensional characters, bland and predictable writing, and some of the most annoying comedy of all time. The only credit I can give this movie is it’s acting, which, again is good, but isn’t enough to save the movie. I give Diary of a Mad Black Woman a solid 1 out of 5 possible stars. If you felt the same way as I did about this flick, I’d highly recommend the Boondocks episode “Pause”, which is a great, hilarious parody and satire of not only Tyler Perry, but also the following his productions receive.