Singers salvage Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself
Starring Tyler Perry and Brian White. Rated PG.
Nobody could ever accuse Tyler Perry of not knowing how to multitask. The prolific writer, director, and cross-dressing performer is probably best known for his crusty portrayal of Madea, a trash-talking grandma (“I been to jail! I will shank you!”) who favours flannel nightgowns big enough to fit the average NFL linebacker. In past movies, Perry typically showcased Madea to combine mildly lowbrow comedy with the underlying social conscience of an old-school Baptist. In I Can Do Bad All By Myself, he cranks up the moralizing while relegating his trademark character to a supporting role.
Watch the trailer for I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
Based on Perry’s original stage play, the story focuses on a hard-drinking nightclub singer named April (Taraji P. Henson). April’s bedroom serves as a convenient escape for her lowlife boyfriend, Randy (Brian White), a married man with a nasty temper. As if things weren’t bad enough, April suddenly finds herself saddled with three orphaned relatives she barely knows: Jennifer (Hope Olaide Wilson), a sullen sixteen-year-old who’d rather be on her own; Manny (Kwesi Boakye) a diabetic; and Byron (Frederick Siglar), an overweight kid who doesn’t talk.
The only bright spot in April’s life is a hunky Latino handyman named Sandino (Adam Rodriguez). When Sandino agrees to fix up April’s dilapidated house in exchange for room and board, he quickly develops a crush on his employer. What follows is totally predictable. Although the talented cast is committed to the overwrought material, the only thing that redeems Perry’s latest effort is a lively, gospel-flavoured score. As a director, his smartest choice is peppering the supporting cast with killer vocalists like Gladys Knight, Mary J. Blige, and real-life pastor Marvin Winans. Whenever the melodrama threatens to overwhelm, they simply stop the show by singing their hearts out.