Monday, October 15, 2007


It’s easy to say I do to “Why Did I get Married”
By Ma’at Atkins

Urban stageplay vet and burgeoning entertainment tycoon Tyler Perry pulled in his third non-consecutive (and his 4th non-consecutive adapted stageplay film) No. 1 film, “Why Did I Get Married,” as it raked in close to $22 million last weekend in its 1st week at the Box Office.

And from viewing the film, it is easy to see why.

“Married" is the screen adaptation (which was directed by Perry as well) of Perry's stage play about the trials of marriage when four couples go on a couples retreat in Colorado.

Filmed in Atlanta (Tyler's hometown), British Columbia, and Vancouver, Canada, “Married” stars some of today’s African American stars in Hollywood (which helped with Box Office tickets) including megastar Janet Jackson (who plays college professor Patricia), R&B singer Jill Scott (who plays the dowdy and girthy housewife Sheila), Hollywood ebony hunks Malik Yoba, Michael Jai White and Richard T.Jones and, in a subdued, non-wig and dress wearing role, Perry as one of the husbands in the film.

At first glance at “Married,” is typical relationship flick fare just with an African American cast (Picture “Waiting to Exhale,” meets “The Brothers,” meets “The Big Chill.”). The acting is solid (especially Scott’s whose masochistic-cum-I-will-survive pathos comes off as grossly genuine ), evenly paced and everybody looks good (even Jackson who surprisingly is very conservative in her look in this film)..

For those who are familiar with Perry and his signature issues in his work, there were plenty of issue driven matters involving relationships (down low syndrome, AIDS, baby mama drama), but the only drawback is the characters seem to be used as character devices (e.g. Richard T. Jones’ extremely insensitive character Mike to Scott’s character Sheila) and situations are slightly coerced for dramatic effect rather than fleshed out personalities with just problems.

There is of course, always in ensemble films, an actor who always stands out from the pack. In this case, it is actress Tasha Smith (“ATL”) who plays the sassy-tongued Angela, who steals most of the scenes in the film with her tart tongue, but its through Smith’s character that the whole “all-men-are-dogs” scenario is challenged. Not since Robin Given’s character, Jackie, in "Boomerang" has there been a turn of the sexual behavior stereotype in post 1990s buppy (black urban professional)films.

Is “Married” worth the vow to go see? Yes. Will you stay faithful to the story? Yes. Is it a film that you would be surprised of the ending? Not really, but it will definitely have those who see it discussing their own relationship (especially the 80-20 rule) and maybe even see their partners in a different light when it comes to partnerships.

Out of four stars, I give it a 2 and ½.

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