Tyler Perry’s stage success came about from hard work. The writer, actor, director, and producer toiled away until he found a mixture of laughs and tears that live audiences responded to with great enthusiasm. His biggest limitation as a filmmaker, however, has been his inability to recalibrate that equation for a movie audience. With Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? he entrenches himself in his patented over-the-top emotionality with disastrous results.
The movie opens with four couples preparing to leave on an annual week-long vacation where they can relax and reconnect with their respective spouses. Dianne (Sharon Leal) and Terry (Tyler Perry) appear to be the most stable of the four, enjoying a happy life with two beautiful kids; Patricia (Janet Jackson) and Gavin (Malik Yoba) project a contentedness that masks long-standing issues between them stemming from the death of their son; Marcus (Michael Jai White) and Angela (Tasha Smith) seemingly do nothing but argue and have makeup sex; and Troy (Lamman Rucker) and Sheila (Jill Scott) are under a financial strain that’s slowly damaging their marriage. As the group enjoys the Bahamian paradise they’re renting, Sheila’s ex Mike (Richard T. Jones) shows up to try and win her back, setting in motion a series of events that will force every one of the couples to consider why they stay with their partners.
Like Perry’s other movies, this one veers schizophrenically from over-the-top emotional confrontations -- charged with the threat of physical violence -- to lengthy soul-baring monologues, to supposed-straight talk about what men and women really want from each other. Also, like his other movies, there aren’t too many recognizable three-dimensional people on the screen, just a collection of attractive men and women who behave like they’re in a Tyler Perry film.
Angela, the most thoroughly unstable of the bunch, never stops speculating that Marcus is sleeping around, and -- although he’s given her ample reason to mistrust him -- she’s such a relentlessly shrill whackjob that it’s easy to see why anybody would cheat on her. However, it’s impossible to see why anyone would marry her in the first place.
Smartly, Perry saves the best storyline for himself and Sharon Leal. The unexpected emotional problem they must overcome should be familiar to most anybody who has ever been in a long-term relationship, and it’s addressed with a subtlety that’s altogether missing from everywhere else in the movie.
Although Louis Gossett Jr. and Cicely Tyson show up to deliver a monologue about what makes a relationship last, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? doesn’t really answer the title query, other than with the simple reply of “love.” Apparently “love” in Tyler Perry’s universe means you put up with your partner’s insane antics because at any point a truck could come out of nowhere and kill that person. Of course, when the person you love makes it a habit to empty revolvers into the bedroom you share because she assumes you’re cheating on her, maybe the truck is preferable.
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