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Why Did I Get Married?

The latest film from multi-hyphenate Tyler Perry is one of his more accessible to date. Why Did I Get Married? may not attract a new audience to the Perry fold, but it should certainly play well with the pre-existing one, which has made him the successful entrepreneur he is today.


There are distinct echoes of Alan Alda's The Four Seasons and Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill here, as the film focuses on four couples who have been friends since their college days. Periodically, they get together and ask themselves the title question as they re-examine their relationships. There's Janet Jackson as Patricia, the college lecturer whose best-selling book is based on her friends' relationships. Patricia and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) are trying to hold their marriage together after the loss of their young son in a tragic car accident. The cocky Mike (Richard T. Jones), flaunts an adulterous relationship in front of his insecure, overweight wife, Shelia (Jill Scott), who is completely oblivious to the deception. Terry (Perry himself) is a successful pediatrician trying to convince his wife Diane (Sharon Leal)--a successful attorney in her own right--to have more kids. Marcus (Michael Jai White), a former pro football player, merely tries to get through the day without a tongue-lashing from his acerbic wife, Angela (Tasha Smith), a woman not known for keeping her opinions to herself, regardless of how appropriate the circumstances. All of them find themselves confronting career demands, family demands, infidelity, incompatibility and mistrust--all while drinking far too much wine. Needless to say, before their get-together is over, a number of secrets will be divulged and each couple will find their relationships shaken to their respective cores.


Forgoing the housedress of his cinematic alter-ego "Madea," Perry proves an affable screen personality, quite relaxed within the ensemble. Jones doesn't go out of his way to make Mike in any way likable, which makes his one of the more memorable and clearly defined characters in the entire cast. Although Smith gets all the sassy lines, White easily steals their scenes together with a surprisingly appealing comic turn. Hunky Lamman Rucker plays a dreamboat sheriff who finds himself drawn into this ever-shifting circle of friends. The women have a tougher go of it, with Jackson giving a tremulous performance that makes her character almost disappear into the background. Yoba is also low-key, although more affectingly so, as her onscreen spouse. Leal does what she can with the stock role of a career woman who takes her home life for granted, but she fares better than Scott, whose crying scenes--and there are more than one--ground the story to a halt. All told, however, the ensemble cast has an easy and relaxed chemistry together, which keeps the film--as soapy as uneven as it often is--afloat throughout.


Tyler Perry doesn't open up his stage play to any major degree, preferring to leave the emphasis on characters and dialogue--both of which, incidentally, he has created. Perry tends to approach these intricate topics with broad (but not irrelevant) strokes, but he's not about to tamper with a successful formula. Like most of Perry's previous films (Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea*s Family Reunion et. al.) Why Did I Get Married? runs on a bit and overstates its case, but its heart's in the right place.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.