Tyler Perry has always been someone that had potential for me. It takes a certain level of genius to literally make your name a brand for movies, and for that brand to have such a level of contentious success. Perry has even made a franchise with his Madea character, who for better or worse, has become somewhat of a staple. Most importantly, Perry is always someone who tries to make storyies that are relevant and bring up important or under-looked issues.
As far as being a filmmaker, though, Perry has yet to really find himself. Despite tackling interesting ideas, almost all of his movies are largely incompetent. He has yet to show that he can direct actors particularly well, and his attempts at creating naturalistic dialogue make him seem like an alien. Last year’s Temptations was perhaps his worst yet, with it having the potential to go down with films like The Room for being so bad that they are good. Perry’s latest The Single Mom’s Club is not his worst, but perhaps his most mundane film yet.
The Single Mom Club follows a group of single mothers who form a support group to confront their problems with their lives, while also trying to find Mr. Right.
Terry Crews is the man, everyone knows this by now in his career. Crews, even when he is in schlock, gives such a great effort with his larger than life persona that he usually can get a laugh or two out of otherwise sub-par material. Here, Crews actually gets more than a laugh or two out of his role as one of the love interests in the film, and it’s always a joy to see him pop up on screen. He certainly brings some much needed diversion.
In general, the cast actually does a good job. The moms Nia Long, Wendi McLendon-C0vey, Amy Smart, Zulay Henao, and Cocoa Brown all do a good enough job with their respective roles. The standouts of the bunch are Brown and McLendon-Covey, who actually are able to create some fun moments with their respective roles.
All five moms in the movie actually have good chemistry together as well. They seemed to all jell well together on-screen, and bounced their dialogue off each other with ease. It’s easy as an audience member to buy their camaraderie as a group, but it’s too bad that there is very little material for the core cast to work with.
It was recently announced that Oprah was producing a television version of this premise, and that really does not surprise me due to how much this movie resembled a sitcom. Perry has yet to develop any visual panache, with his films continuing to be shot in a very flat manner. Some scenes also have very an off-putting lack of color, with there being an apparent color drain from the scenes. It makes me think Perry was using shitty cameras.
While there are a few laughs here, most of the film is severely lacking in laughs due to the script. It’s apparent that some of the actors were able to sell a couple scenes due to their sheer effort, but Perry’s screenplay is often times filled with total duds of jokes. Also, the film tries to be raunchy with the jokes, but since it’s PG-13, most of these jokes do not go the distance they need to. There is really no reason why this film shouldn’t have been rated R.
Perry again tries to tackle major issues in his screenplay, but continues to do so on a very obvious and base level. The film basically starts showing all of these problems these moms are going through, like dealing with children neglecting the effort from their parents, to dealing with divorce itself. This is shown, but we never see the psychological effect that it has on these moms, or how being treated like this has changed them as people. It’s Tyler Perry, though, so no surprise none of that is present.
The Single Mom’s Club is largely filed with cliches. The story follows all of the by-the-book cliches that you would expect in a romantic comedy like this. There are no risks or elements in the story that have not be done in other movies, and also done better. Perry’s screenplay in general has to be one of his most banal yet; there is just nothing about the screenplay that is even mildly interesting.
Like the themes themselves, the characters here are rather one-dimensional. This is especially a let down because the actors are giving a genuine effort, but Perry gives them no support with his characterization. They either have one trait that defines them or even lack any real character traits that make them interesting at all. It’s all missing depth: depth of theme, depth of story, and especially depth of characters.
At its core, this film is a romantic comedy, and that kind of ruins the point of the movie in a way. What is supposed to be empowering about these single women facing their problems head on when the film ends up turning into them all lusting over different men? Why do these moms need a man in their life to ground themselves and handle their problems? As usual, it’s another example of Perry being largely misguided, as it again creates a somewhat sexist undertone.
The Single Mom’s Club is perhaps Tyler Perry at his worst. The movie is not bad enough to be memorable in a funny way, but instead just rather banal and stale. With Perry making films for nearly a decade now, it’s apparent that he has yet to learn much in those years, which may be why his brand value is continuing to decrease. Hopefully, we are entering the end of the Tyler Perry era.
Take a Drink: for each generic character moment.
Take a Drink: each time Terry Crews is on-screen; he certainly could use one
Do a Shot: whenever the film tries to be uplifting and fails massively