With services like Netflix, Amazon and On-Demand being so popular these days I rarely need to hit the theaters to see the latest films but today was different.
Over the past few months there had been a lot of hoopla over Tyler Perry’s new film offering Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor. Some of that hoopla had to do with the casting of Kim Kardashian and the drama surrounding her then recent divorce all which was pretty null and void. Actually Kim’s roll is so minimal that her character could have been left out without harming the overall storyline and plot. No worries there.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge Tyler Perry fan but I will be honest and say that I have enjoyed a few of his movies including Good Deeds and Why Did I Get Married. Just like Why Did I Get Married, Temptation is an adaptation of one of Tyler Perry’s stage plays; one of many that I have yet to see. With that being said, I had very little expectations for the film only that it looked pretty interesting from the previews.
A marriage counselor, married to her childhood sweetheart and pharmacist Brice for six years, becomes bored and frustrated with her home life and her practice within a firm. One day, she meets her new client, a social media mogul, and develops a friendship with him which then evolves into a torrid yet obsessive affair. Little does she know of the repercussions regarding her code of ethics and her betrayal to her husband. (Wikipedia.org)
The overall story and plot at first seemed pretty decent. The story is really different from previous Perry movies and I thought I was in for something great but I was a little let down.
So let me start off by saying that Perry’s film leads Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Judith), Robbie Jones (Harley), and Lance Gross (Brice) were great in this film; No complaints there. Brandy Norwood was OK but her talents were underutilized to say the least. I would say the same about veteran actresses Ella Joyce and Vanessa Williams. Kim Kardashion…nothing amazing or remarkable there. She just seemed to be reading her lines and just getting by.
Early on in the film there are several key facts that are being hidden including the identity of the narrator and her roll in the story, the name of Brandy Norwood’s character’s stalker husband and the reason for her hiding. It’s a lot of the unspoken stuff in the film that leads you to wonder and probably correctly assume what may be coming next. There is very little suspense in this film if any. Let’s just be honest…nothing that happens in this movie will be a surprise to you. There are even a few secrets revealed that you may not even care about and have no impact on the progression of the film including the fact that Judith’s mom, played by Ella Joyce, left her husband instead of him being dead.
The first 50 minutes of this movie is pretty good but things take a weird and predictable turn once the Judith and Harley make love on his private jet. From this point on the movie becomes very cliche’ and painful to watch.
A friend of mine Jon who attended the film with me made a really good point. He mentioned that it always seems like Perry puts so much energy into the build up/set up of films (cliche’s, hooks and all) that when the film hits its’ climax that the pay off is kinda weak. I agree. The film leaves you wanting much more than what your left with. I kinda felt the same way about Perry’s stage play Madea’s Big Happy Family which he penned and toured with shortly after the passing of his Mom. I left the PNC Arena that evening wanting more. Both felt really incomplete and unfinished.
I am and will always be a supporter of Black filmmakers including Perry. Perry is one of the few filmmakers currently creating opportunities for new and established actors/actresses in the African-American community. With that being said, I will not instruct anyone not to support and purchase tickets for this film. I will say that I really didn’t like what I saw. As I mentioned before , the film left me wanting more.
Diehard Tyler Perry fans will probably enjoy the film. Folks that are intrigued by the previews maybe a bit disappointed. With so much promise and pre-hype over the past year, I was a bit upset that the film just didn’t deliver that “one-two-punch” that I was looking for. Overall this screen adaptation was a bit on the unoriginal side and lacking.