I have a major problem with film director Tyler Perry. I'll say that Tyler Perry is like Lil Wayne in the movie game. He's well-liked, gives the (mass) people what they want to see, and makes a lot of money while doing it. It should be hard to find a fault on the powerful Black man in the name of Cinema, right? Wrong. In the same vein of what makes him 'so popular', he is also an integral part to the support of Blacks continuing to make excuses for their shortcomings and take responsibility for their actions, inaction, and future. He is a sore in our culture, opting to entertain by exploiting the stereotypes of our race for comedic relief, subliminally bringing to light what is wrong with our culture but providing little to no viable alternatives to such a problem, and on top of everything else...he just plain sucks.
Last weekend, I went to see Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail. I've never liked any of the Madea plays and most of his movies were just doing too much for my tastes, namely because of his penchant for broadcasting the stereotypes of Blacks and blanketing them, making them much bigger and 'general' than they really are. I have a problem with that. A big problem. However, I went to see it anyway because my homies wanted to see it and I didn't want to be the odd one out. Plus the tickets were only six bucks so I figured, "why not?"*
I knew this film would be full of fuckery to the tenth power when not only was it the usual run-of-the-mill stereotypical "from Down South" Blacks speaking in broken English, partying with the "big red cup", and ultimately making a mockery of our culture by talking loud for no reason and being uncooperative. Sure enough, these stereotypes exist. But the whole film? I shook my head when everyone laughed at the stereotypes. I just didnt find it funny.
It's important to embrace our culture and 'be real', of course. My problem lies mainly with his character development in all of the works he's done with the exception of "Why Did I Get Married" and "A Family That Preys" because in those films, his characters were variant, diverse, and painted a more wholistic picture of our culture, marking our general social struggles but still not losing sight of the battle we as a culture face and also took note that...there ARE successful Black people in the world that work legally, aren't ignorant and uneducated, have families, and take responsiblity for their actions.
It's like Perry is doing this on purpose though. It's one thing to have that one film or two exploiting your race for comedic relief...and an entirely different animal altogether to have a portfolio of buffoonery as your main source of income. I can't knock him because he's made it work for him and he's now a millionaire...but damn all that! I can knock him for disrespecting our race time and time again!
I do wonder though: Do Whites see us like this? Do they 'blanket' us and think we're all this ridiculous? That we're all jokers with no goals and just getting by with Life? The theatre I was in was packed with Whites taking up about 85% of the seating. I understand that the movie is a comedy but I saw so much deeper than all that and I was heartbroken by what I saw....generally. We aren't all like that. See the Black attorneys in the film? We can be like that too (though I felt like he should have developed more into the story of those successful Blacks) and it isnt an anomaly. We're successful, driven, educated, and happy. Damn you, Tyler Perry!!!
Take all of these issues I had with the character development out and let's focus on how the film was completely underdeveloped. On one hand we had Madea on the brink of going to jail and profusely refusing help, by which case she ultimately loses her cool in a very extravagant (read: EXTRA!) way and is eventually jailed (no shocker there; we knew she was going to jail by the title alone). On the other hand, we have Candy, played by Keysha Knight-Pulliam (aka: Rudy from the Cosby Show) who is a prostitute that is sentenced to jail for an unreasonable amount of time because she is friends with an attorney who is engaged to a very jealous and outright ridiculously unfair and selfish woman to whom he works with. The fiance intentionally dallies with Candy's legal papers and makes her go to jail so that her and her husband-to-be can live their lives without Candy's interrupting. Basically, the movie was two stories in one film. It was obvious.
And even though it's titled, "Madea Goes to Jail", I personally favored the latter story.
I felt like the connection between the two scenarios should have been much more clear and well...developed. Instead, Perry waited until near the end of the film to bring the two (Madea and Candy) together and when he did, it was still clear that this was two movies in one.
Bad character development + Grossly underdeveloped plot + A few laughs here and there =
Ms_ Slim rolling her eyes and sitting at the film laughing sparingly instead of in a rukus like everyone else. I just saw so many errors and couldn't get past it for the sake of mere comedic relief.