April 8, 2010

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Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? (PG-13)
The same (more or less) four couples from the first marriage dramady return for Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?, a movie that, if you see it with a Tyler Perry fan, will give your don’t-laugh-at-the-wrong-time muscle one heck of a workout.

Not that you’ll be tempted to laugh much in the beginning, the allegedly funny part of the movie. Though there’s a chuckle to be had here or there in the early scenes of the four couples meeting up in the Caribbean and attempting to enjoy a vacation, it’s not until the movie gets extra absurd — and dramatic — that you can’t suppress the giggles.

To refresh your memory: the four couples taking this retreat into yelling and embarrassingly personal marriage talk are Terry (Perry) and Dianne (Sharon Leal), the most seemingly with- it couple who are happily balancing work and family; Gavin (Malik Yoba) and Patricia (Janet Jackson), the leader of this bunch as Patricia is a marriage therapist; Troy (Lamman Rucker) and Sheila (Jill Scott), the newest couple now facing the strain of a job search; and Marcus (Michael Jai White) and Angela (Tasha Smith), whose job is to be Loud. And then there’s Mike (Richard T. Jones), the good-for-nothing jerk Sheila dumped in the first movie who has returned here for unknown purposes. Does he want Sheila back? Does he just want to cause trouble?

For about the first hour, the couples are in a sunny paradise, talking in the most stilted ways possible, arguing (mostly with Angela leading the charge) and setting the stage for the much more event-heavy second part of the movie when everybody’s relationships find melodramatic ways of falling apart (or really, as this movie does it, of exploding with a ball of flames and rain of shrapnel; Tyler Perry — the Michael Bay of emotion). In this second part we see Jill Scott gamely try to cram some actual performance into all the soap opera-ness, we see Tyler Perry unwind the most interesting (though half-assedly resolved) story for his own character and we see Janet Jackson get a couple of chances to go nuts. Admittedly, this is one of the more entertaining parts of the movie, but I can’t tell how much of the strangeness of her performance is intentional and how much is just happy accident.

Like all Tyler Perry movies, this one occasionally offers you those moments where you think “wow, nobody ever talks about this stuff in a movie” only to be followed by long stretches of “yikes, that’s why nobody tries to talk about this stuff in a movie.” But give him this — he leaves nothing in the idea file for later. Perry brings the whole box of Crayons and uses every single one. C

Rated PG-13 for thematic material including sexuality, language, drug reference and some domestic violence. Written and directed by Tyler Perry, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? is two hours long and distributed in wide release by Lionsgate.