Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too: a turgid take on marital woes

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      Starring Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, and Tyler Perry. Rated PG.

      Writer-director Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? is a turgid, soapy look at four Atlanta-based couples, on vacation in the Bahamas, with a whole mess of domestic problems. While nobody goes to a Tyler Perry movie expecting Southern-fried Ingmar Bergman, this self-righteous sequel to 2007’s Why Did I Get Married is like spending two hours sifting through the dirty laundry of people you’d rather not know.

      Watch the trailer for Why Did I Get Married Too?.

      Perry—who also stars here—has never been known for his subtlety. But his typically melodramatic approach is usually undercut with a sassy dose of humour. Here, the shabby attempt at comic relief is provided by a bickering couple with troubling jealousy issues (Tasha Smith and Michael Jai White). As the trash-talking Angela, Smith is constantly crowing stuff like: “I’m gonna pop a cap in yo’ ass!” When she thinks she’s caught her husband cheating on her, Angela storms up to their bedroom, gets her pistol from the linen closet, and empties a few rounds above the headboard. So much for the lighter side of things.

      Perry spikes the plot with everything from cancer to spousal abuse. While he turns in an understated performance as a man trying to save his marriage, most of the heavy lifting is done by Patricia and Gavin (Janet Jackson and Malik Yoba), two successful professionals who’ve never recovered from the death of their child.

      We watch as Patricia and Gavin’s decision to get a divorce erupts into over-the-top violence. Gavin burns the only remaining pictures of their child in an alcoholic rage. Patricia breaks glassware with a golf club, swinging away with a demonic gleam in her eye. While there’s enough tawdry anguish in this movie to make anybody squirm, it’s hard not to feel shamelessly manipulated. By the time it was all over, I had a splitting headache.