Tyler Perry is a cultural phenomenon as creator of a hugely successful series of formulaic, Christian-themed, sin-and-redemption movies, specifically targeted at an affluent African-American audience. And ever since his movie debut, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, his films have not been screened for critics hence, the delayed review.
In this latest, set at an annual retreat in a Rocky Mountain resort, four married couples, and friends since college days, delve into the strengths and weaknesses of each others marriages. Theres a well-meaning romance psychologist/author (singer Janet Jackson), married to an award-winning architect (Malik Yoba of TVs New York Undercover); a sassy, hard-drinking beauty tycoon (Tasha Smith) with her confrontational, VD-infected husband (Michael Jai White); and a workaholic, BlackBerry-obsessed lawyer (Sharon Leal of Dreamgirls) whos ambivalent about motherhood and her pediatrician husband (played by Perry). But the central couple is a despicable philanderer (Richard T. Jones) and his self-effacing, obese wife (singer Jill Scott), whose girth gets her booted from her airplane in the films opening sequence because they bring along a friend (Denise Boutte).
Blending comedy with melodrama, Tyler Perry achieves a tad more subtlety than in his preachy, stereotypical Madea films, even Daddys Little Girls, aided in great part by the effective acting ensemble and Toyomichi Kuritas cinematography. But his strong, sexy female characters are still too shrill and obvious in their evangelical instincts and the men are, inevitably, wayward.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Tyler Perrys Why Did I Get Married? is a compassionate, therapeutic 5. In Perrys cliché-filled scenarios, nearly all white characters are depicted as conscious or unconscious bigots, which is a shame in this day and age – since relationship issues are not delineated along racial lines.