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Old 04-06-2010, 05:25 PM
Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?

Here's the link to the published version of the review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:

Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010)

Tyler Perry has had an interesting career. Despite most of his movies getting a critical lashing after their release, for he apparently doesn't allow them to be screened prior, they have always performed quite well at the box office. He apparently has a niche that is devoted to his films, and his latest was no exception.

Perry's follow-up to "Why Did I Get Married?" follows the same characters from the original. Four couples decide to take a vacation to the Bahamas where they plan to relax, but instead, end up analyzing their marriages. One couple, Marcus (Michael Jai White) and Angela (Tasha Smith), are constantly arguing. Another, Terry (Tyler Perry) and Sheila (Jill Scott), are worried about their current circumstances. They recently moved and Terry has been unable to find another job. Things become more complicated when Sheila's ex, Mike (Richard T. Jones), shows up.

This first half of the film reeked of "Couples Retreat," a film that set up very similar circumstances. The difference was that the couples in that film thought they were going to relax, but end up getting dragged into therapy sessions, whereas the couples in Perry's film come to relax, but drag themselves into their own forms of therapy as they discuss their situation with their respective spouses. Let's just say it makes for a less-than-captivating film.

This is probably because the characters themselves felt so flat and uninteresting. It also doesn't help that there are very few moments that felt sincere. One of the few moments that did comes in a scene where Sheila is speaking with her ex, explaining why she remembers their apartment so well as she recalls how bad her life was with him.

If there had been more moments like this, then perhaps this first half would have gotten somewhere, but instead, Perry chooses to have awkward tone shifts from attempting to be funny (which never seems to work out for him) to arguments between the couples. This first half randomly ends with one of the couples, Patricia (Janet Jackson) and Gavin (Malik Yoba), deciding to get a divorce, a plot turn that merely sets up the second half of the film.

This half of the film is where it turns into an all-out melodrama. Everything that could possibly go wrong with these couples does including suspicion of cheating and money troubles. This second half reminded me of the recent "Valentine's Day," which tried to encompass too many characters into its plot to make us care about them. Perry tries to do this too, though to a much lesser extent, switching back and forth between eight or nine characters while trying to make us care about all of their problems, with not so great results.

While trying to contain all of these characters in this film, it suffers the consequence of being stretched out to an almost unbearable length. Then, when we finally do get around to the long-awaited ending, it turns out to be completely pointless and forced. If someone could have just shouted at them to work out their problems in the first place, would this movie even have been necessary?

There are some decent performances here, particularly from Jill Scott, but they just can't save the clichéd material from weighing down the whole film. If Perry focused on fewer characters, he could have really allowed them to develop and allowed the audience to care about each of them, and if he had chosen to go a less formulaic route, then he might have had a decent movie here. As it is, it needed more work than these couples did. 1.5/4 stars.
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