Diary Of Mad Black Woman

"Unbearable"

Diary Of Mad Black Woman Review


"Diary of a Mad Black Woman" is an obscenely hypocritical comedy-drama that climbs high on a rickety soap box to loudly preach Christian values, then turns around to cheer on its wronged-wife heroine as she takes cruel revenge against her once-abusive husband -- after he becomes crippled and helpless.

But the movie is mired in one-dimensional characters, stereotype humor, cheap sentiment and simplistic life lessons long before it trips over its insultingly disingenuous double standards.

Thirty-three-year-old Kimberly Elise (who looks 26 at most) plays Helen, a gorgeous, gutless doormat whose cartoonishly evil, ultra-wealthy defense-attorney husband of 18 years (was she married at age 15?) throws her out of their mansion so his gold-digging mistress can move in.

Despite years of his cheating and emotional abuse, Helen is somehow completely blindsided by this turn of events, but even though her husband (Steve Harris) "alienated me from my entire family" and no mention is ever made of her having any friends, her recovery and inevitable rediscovery of self-worth becomes a contrived, naive, absurdly easy fairy-tale affair.

She moves in with her gun-toting, ghetto-sassy granny (played in bad-wig and pendulous-breasts drag by screenwriter Tyler Perry) and septuagenarian sex-maniac uncle (also played by Perry in bad make-up -- more on him later), gets a job as a waitress, and learns to stand on her own two feet with the selfless, unwavering, Harlequin-fantasy adoration of a hunky, blue-collar Mr. Wonderful named Orlando (Shemar Moore).

Orlando takes things slowly because he understands her trust issues. They date for several soft-focus, montage-sequence months without sleeping together because he's a "good Christian man," as Helen writes in her voice-over diary -- a narrative crutch used by inexperienced director Darren Grant to skip over showing any of Helen's struggles or growth. And Mr. Wonderful is barely even dismayed when Helen disappears from his life without explanation, abandoning her newfound independence to play nurse to her still-callous ex-husband when he is shot and paralyzed by one of the gang-banger criminal clients who made him rich.

It's at this point that devout, church-going Helen, who apparently never stood up for herself once in her entire life, begins giving as good as she once got until her ex cracks and begs for her forgiveness. If she had taken him on when the man still had all his faculties, and bested him because she'd grown, and learned, and bettered herself, and could now stand up to him, that would be admirable -- and would have made for a good story.

But the way "Mad Black Woman" expects the audience to applaud as this weak woman takes advantage of her now-weaker abuser is just about the least Christian thing I can imagine. Yet after all this, she is rewarded by a reunion with her oh-so-understanding new love in a scene blatantly ripped off from the finale of "An Officer and a Gentleman."

Writer Tyler Perry, who adapted the movie from his own play, seems to think any appalling behavior is OK as long as you believe in the power of Jesus (and only Jesus, as evidenced by religiously bigoted lyrics in the gospel-music soundtrack). And apparently Perry just can't get enough of himself either, as evidenced by the utterly extraneous (and time-dragging) subplot in which he plays yet another character -- a relative of Helen's who is in crisis because his wife is addicted to crack.

Although "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" begins with its contrivances and mixed morals somewhat balanced by good-hearted, passably funny humor and Elise's sympathetic performance, the fact that Helen, despite being truly obtuse, is the only (and barely) fleshed-out character soon becomes obvious.

In its last two acts, the picture degenerates into such a shallow, contemptible crowd-pleaser (the sneak-preview audience whooped throughout) that its painfully blunt message that faith can fix anything (all stories are wrapped up in one miracle-inducing gospel-choir church scene) comes across as more of an artificial plot device than an endorsement of religious devotion. So ultimately, "Mad Black Woman" fails even on its own terms.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Lions Gate Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 0.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Darren Grant

Starring: as Helen, as Charles, as Madea, as Brian, as Joe, as Orlando

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.