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Diary Of Mad Black Woman

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Judy Thorburn

Diary Of A Mad Black Woman

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

FORGIVE AND FORGET “DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN”

African American playwright and actor Tyler Perry, more known in the theatre world for his series of plays, makes his film debut with moviegoers with Diary of A Mad Black Woman. In it, he introduces a stage character; the larger than life grandmother type Madea, a role he portrays in drag. But, don’t be fooled by the movie trailors.  Based on those short coming attractions, one would think that Madea was the central focus of Diary. No doubt she makes quite a mark, but she’s not the woman of the title.

That leading role of ‘mad’ black woman belongs to Kimberly Elise (Beloved), an intelligent, convincing actress able to evoke a wide variety of expressive emotions in a movie that is less than convincing and filled with black cultural stereotypes.

The story revolves around Kimberly as Helen, a devoted and loving wife of 18 years, whose life falls apart when her cheating scoundrel husband, high profile criminal defense attorney, Charles (played by Steve Harris, formerly from TV’s legal drama, The Practice – big stretch for him!) decides he wants a divorce so he can be with his mistress, with which he has two kids. Thrown out of the mansion and a life of luxury, Helen is left stranded with all of her belongings packed into a U-Haul truck where a handsome driver waits to take her away.

When Helen seeks refuge at a family member’s house in the ghetto part of town, we get to see Tyler Perry do his thing. Perry does triple duty as Helen’s trashy mouthed, gun toting, elderly relative Madea (not sure whether she’s the aunt or granny), her dirty-minded, uncouth pot smoking, brother Joe, and Helen’s nice guy cousin Brian (as his handsome self, without prosthetic makeup). Think Martin Lawrence in Big Mama’s House, or Eddie Murphy doing his multiple character roles and you’ve got the idea. Anyway, Madea supplies the laughs with her straight shooting mouth; kick ass take control of situations, and street-smart wisdom. But, it is serious at work Elise who holds this film together the best she can.

The said diary comes into play as Helen offers an occasional voice over describing the events played out from her supposed written entries.  We watch as she emerges from her weak, doormat self to an empowered strong willed woman, with the help of various supporting characters, a bit of revenge, and something that steadily grows as a major factor for her transformation, - her religious faith.  That’s all well and good.  But, Diary is an uneven, inconsistent movie that switches direction too many times eventually drowning in preachy waters.  Going from comedy to drama and then some heavy-handed Christian prosthelitizing is cause for turn off.  Then there is Helen’s blossoming romance and gooey, saccharine dialogue (words like “this is a fairy tale” and “knight in shining armor” are spoken) with wonderful and gorgeous truck driver Orlando (Shemar Moore).  They have little chemistry and their relationship doesn’t seem real.  No man is that perfect!  And, a schmaltzy subplot dealing with cousin Brian’s estranged drug addicted wife has no credibility whatsoever.  Cicely Tyson makes an appearance as Helen’s mother. But, this wonderful actress is underused.

When it comes down to it, writer Perry wants to make a point about faith and forgiveness.  But, do audiences want to endure a ten-minute sequence of a Southern Baptist sermon and church singing? That belongs in church.  At least, I knew what to expect in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. I had no idea Diary was meant to be a religious testimonial. When the lights came up I was expecting them to pass the plate.

The mostly Black audience at my screening seemed to really enjoy this film.  I can only figure they were familiar with Perry’s work and what he has to say.  But, I doubt his message will carry over to a wide range of audience demographics – non-Christians, etc.   If that’s the case, Tyler may have to just settle for preaching to the choir.

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