• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself

Directed by Tyler Perry. Starring Tyler Perry, Taraji P. Henson, Brian White, Hope Olaide Wilson, Adam Rodriguez, Mary J. Blige, Kwesi Boakye, Frederick Siglar, Gladys Knight. (2009, PG-13, 113 min.)

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Sept. 18, 2009

One could, rather uncharitably, point out that Perry, a veritable one-man movie factory, has previously done bad, all by his bad self, in some of his previous critically reviled productions. But this latest offering continues a trend toward increasingly mature moviemaking from the actor/writer/director. Yes, we still get Perry vamping as Madea, that hulking, house-coated nag, but only in brief, giggling jags that break up a melodrama about familial duties and self-actualization. Actually, Perry's drag bits are pretty damn funny, as when Madea recounts a Bible story about Peter, one of the "12 disciplines," that nonsensically weaves in other parables and finally wends its way to "Noah's arch" – you know, the one in St. Louis. On the befuddled receiving end of Madea's tale is Jennifer (Wilson, nuanced and quite moving), a sullen 16-year-old who is more or less raising her two younger brothers. When their grandmother goes missing, Jennifer and her brothers are dumped on the doorstep of Aunt April (Henson), a hard-drinking torch singer not at all interested in her new gig as de facto guardian. On the very same day, a hunky handyman immigrant named Sandino (CSI: Miami's Rodriguez) comes on as April's basement boarder, and suddenly, very reluctantly, April must kick open the doors to both her home and her deeply hardened heart. But not at first: If Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) weren't such a likable screen presence, her character would be difficult to tolerate, so screechy and unsympathetic is she. Redemption, of course, is inevitable – and Perry frankly takes too much time getting there – but I Can Do Bad benefits from a number of musical performances from a smoldering Henson and co-stars Blige, Knight, and Marvin Winans, who also wrote the film's emotional high mark, the gospelized "Just Don't Wanna Know/Over It Now."

READ MORE
More Tyler Perry Films
Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween
Tricks and treats with Tyler Perry

Kimberley Jones, Oct. 28, 2016

Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club
Tyler Perry makes a comedy about single mothers who don't get enough credit.

Marjorie Baumgarten, March 21, 2014

More by Kimberley Jones
The Edge of Seventeen
Teen dramedy gets the growing pains right

Nov. 18, 2016

SXSW Conference Announces New Panels
SXSW Conference Announces New Panels
Muslim-American journalist Noor Tagouri joins lineup

Nov. 15, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself, Tyler Perry, Tyler Perry, Taraji P. Henson, Brian White, Hope Olaide Wilson, Adam Rodriguez, Mary J. Blige, Kwesi Boakye, Frederick Siglar, Gladys Knight

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)