Eric D. Snider

Why Did I Get Married?

Movie Review

Why Did I Get Married?

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: D

Released: October 12, 2007

 

Directed by:

Cast:

"Why Did I Get Married?" is a simple, feeble-minded film with a high-school-level screenplay. Where good writers subtly introduce us to the facts about their characters, Tyler Perry just has them flat-out announce things with phony expository dialogue like this:

"I am a pediatrician!"

"You and your control issues!"

"You wasn't saying that [complaining about my not having a job] when I was playing pro ball, before I got hurt!"

"You're the same pain in the butt you were when we were roommates!"

"You could lose about 50 pounds. Then I might be somewhat attracted to you."

In some cases, we're already aware of these things even without the characters declaring them. We know, for example, that Mike (Richard T. Jones) no longer loves his wife, Sheila (Jill Scott), and that it's because she's overweight. Did he need to actually come out and tell her that? Nope. But it does make him look like a particularly eee-vil villain, so it serves the movie's purpose in that regard.

In other cases, better writing would present the information in a much less obvious fashion. If a character has control issues, for instance, it's generally better to let us see him behave controllingly, rather than to have his wife announce, "You and your control issues!" I mean, how stupid do you think we are?

Based on another one of Perry's seemingly endless pile of stage plays, "Why Did I Get Married?" is about four affluent couples who once a year take a week-long retreat to focus on their unions and try to strengthen their relationships. One of the women, a psychologist named Patricia (Janet Jackson), has written a bestselling self-help book about it. At a college lecture, a student who has read the book asks for follow-up info on one of the couples, and Patricia says, "I don't really like to talk about my friends...." Which is stupid, since she wrote a book about them.

Anyway, this year's retreat is in the mountains of Colorado. In a chain of events so improbable as to derail the film before it's even gotten start, Sheila is kicked off the plane for being too fat, and her husband Mike stays onboard, telling her to drive to Colorado instead. On the plane with him is Trina (Denise Boutte), Sheila's slim and gorgeous friend whom Mike is obviously -- OBVIOUSLY!! -- sleeping with. Absurdly, Trina, a single woman whom no one else has met, is joining Sheila and Mike and the three other couples on this couples-only retreat designed to strengthen the couples' relationships. I know that men cheat, and I know that women are often oblivious to it, and I know that men do dumb things sometimes, but COME ON. Not a bit of this makes any sense.

Patricia the smug psychologist has a smug, ascot-wearing husband named Gavin (Malik Yoba), and their pain is that their child died not too long ago. Terry (Tyler Perry) and Diane (Sharon Leal), the pediatrician and his lawyer wife, are at odds because she's too busy to spend time with him, and also because he wants another kid and she doesn't. Marcus (Michael Jai White) and Angela (Tasha Smith), a cheater and an alcoholic, respectively, pretty much just scream at each other all the time.

The first half of the film has the four couples, plus the mistress, plus the rugged local sheriff (Lamman Rucker), spending time at the cabin and eventually shouting out one another's secrets. The second half is back in whatever city they all live in, where we bounce from one couple to another as they work through the aftermath and resolve their differences one way or the other.

Like all of Perry's films ("Diary of a Mad Black Woman," "Madea's Family Reunion," and presumably "Daddy's Little Girls," though I haven't seen it), "Why Did I Get Married?" is blunt and ungraceful in the way it presents its messages. The morals and platitudes, enacted by one-note characters without substance, are spelled out like the slogans on a church's marquee.

Speaking of which, while black Christian women are Perry's most faithful audience, and while there is consistently a Christian undertone in his work, the religious elements in this film are uncomfortably wedged in with just a few lines of dialogue. It's almost as if Perry wrote the story, realized he'd forgotten to pay lip service to Jesus, then went back to add a few sentences as an afterthought. It feels artificial, and not the same kind of morality-play-artificial as the rest of the movie.

Grade: D

Rated PG-13, some mild profanity, some mild sexual references and adult themes

1 hr., 53 min.

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This item has 25 comments

  1. Natalie says:

    Although I admittedly enjoyed the movie, I must say I agree with you! You noticed some of the exact same things that my husband and I discussed (during the movie of course...you know how we do...at least I whispered...lol). The point-blank sharing of obvious information and the contradictory "I don't like to discuss my friends" was hilarious to us...but on another note, Tyler Perry is what he is. He knows his audience (of which I'm sure doesn't typically consist of Rhodes Scholars) and he caters to them shamelessly - even if it means writing and editing at a 9th grade level. I guess If you walk in to Tyler Perry's movies expecting a screenplay comparable to Shakespeare (or even Woody Allen) you'll be repeatedly dissapointed - just as if you walked into a Jack Black movie expecting profound substance of any kind.

  2. Titi says:

    I watched the movie yesterday........ your review is dead-on. I am still trying to figure out why I watch his movies to date... they are SIMPLE, OBVIOUS... l could not stand his plays... even when my church crowd was going to watch his plays.... I would comfortably sit them out.... BUT I still watch his movies. Still dont understand why?

    I guess its the same reason, I watched episodes of Flava of Love.... We are all have moments of mediocrity, where we just want to kick off our shoes, have some popcorn and talk back to the screen( yes I said talk back to the screen!!)... and Tyler Perry delivered that movie for me.

    When I want some subtle well written comedy, I will watch Curb your enthusiasm.... the works of Larry David.

    Tione

  3. Mark A. Holman says:

    You know, why do black people hate so much on other black people. I really liked the movie and the screenplay was just like it is in person when a man that thinks he has it going on and has a not so attractive woman that loves him so much he dogs her. I really felt good for the sistet when she found love and then her x husband felt real stupid when she was happy. And to top it off, the pretty woman did not do noting, dishes, clothes, or cleaning, but she did do shopping. It was a good movie and I will request any woman with self esteem issues to watch it. You go Tyler Perry, keep on keeping on brotha.

  4. La Shawna says:

    I agree. I think people are just haters. Your position in life is to be a hater. If you were so much in agreement that this movie and his former projects were not acceptable....then why do you watch!!. Who is really is mediocre. There is a market for all types of movies, for all different people to invoke all different feelings. Not just the feelings of the "haters". After all, if you can do a better job, then you do it. Besides Tyler Perry is a very accomplished play writer, producer , film producer and owns his own production studio. He should for any thing else be applauded for his achievements and not torn down. Futhermore this film was a comedy. Comedy is not meant to be serious film nor is it to be a thought invoking piece of film such as a documentary. This was a film on just that.... Why did I get Married? It is comical that most people have not even asked themselves that one question....however are putting more effort in hating. Meanwhile Tyler Perry is handling his business and manking millions. Good Day Hater-Nation.

  5. T says:

    Grant it. Have to agree with this review. Saw the film asking some of same questions. Tyler tends to get redundant in his writing. But I love Tyler Perry and his efforts as the FIRST black man to own his own studio and write his own checks. Mad props to a brotha! So I don't think anyone is hatin on him or tearin him down but making a clear observation. His writing could use a lot of improvement! What drew folks to this movie was his cast. His cast made a weak script seemingly good and attractive. Tyler matter of fact is very open comments and critiques about his work whether he agrees with it or not. And he humbly admits when he knows where he needs to grow. He even said this was one his best work. And I agree Why did I get married is the better of the past 3 films. There's a difference between contructive criticism and flat out being insulting. This to me was constructive.

  6. Shareda says:

    I feel like you and whomever else agrees with you is scared of and don't like change. Tyler Perry is bring real life to TV about how blacks relate not just the negative part of being black that TV audience is so use to. Just give Tyler his props and get over yourself because it is all good and GOD is going to keep on blessing this man.

  7. Anissa says:

    I just think that it is so sad when a person has to hate on someone for being successful. I think that what Tyler Perry is doing with his plays and movies is to be commended. This man went from being homeless to being a successful black man. You may think that his movies are trivial, but think about how many lives his movies have touched.

  8. Ms Dennis says:

    I watched the movies last night (11/24/07) and I think the movies was great. I laughed, I cried and I had a jolly good time, I am not too "into" black movies because of the profanity-at least the ones I watched (I am African immigrant by the way) but I must say that this is the first of Perry's movies I watch and I am looking forward to purchasing the dvd when it comes out.

    Bravo Tyler Perry...

  9. angel says:

    I freakin love your movies and plays...ur tha best!

  10. Crystal says:

    I think that Tyler is a successful black entrepreneur and I applaud him all the way. He has transceded the world of theatre, as well as playwrighting. Who are we to give our opinions about a strong BLACK man who has overcome so many trials and tribulations and let alone voice a negative comment on the internet. If you think it could've been a little better than why dont you pray about it, or better yet show us what your working with. But then again, Natalie, TiTi, ummmmmmmmmmmmmm...That role you played was_____

    Exactly! You have no fans or no one supporting you. Tyler, I definately congratulate you in all your accomplishments. You are creating a legacy and building a foundation for black people who want to do theater or become playwrighters to follow after. Peace and Blessings to you Tyler and dont worry about the dumb negative comments......

  11. Joanne says:

    This is for the person asking why black folks hate on each other....it is MEANT to be.. it clearly says it in the book of life.The old Covenant states we will fight each other, kill each other and bad mouth each other.Like I said It is Meant to be but it MUST not be that way.

    If an individual has no ambition,focus or dreams or is an underachiever then you will seat your idle backside and hate on your own kind as you do not know any better...that is why the non blacks will always be miles away from the people of color as they would rather accept each others faults & achievements alike and get on with what they have got.

    We should have every reason to be proud of Tyler as he is true talent and his hard work & dreams are paying off.Many black actors are now turning to directing & producing Movies but they are prepared for a challenge behind the camera so if You don't support them now.. who will? as you all know it is one black person at a time to receive an Oscar every 3,4,5 years.

  12. janice wikens says:

    what happen to people when they challenge any body.

  13. tangie miller venson says:

    I AM A SINGLE BLACK FEMALE, I GO OUT TO CLUBS WITH FRIENDS AND PEOPLE OFTEN STARE AT THE FULL FIGURED WOMAN.I HAVE BEEN A ATHLETE ALL MY LIFE AND HAVE HAD MANY SURGERIES.I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT AND BE THAT 150LB WOMAN BUT AT TIMES IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE. I HAVE WENT ON DIETS AND WHEN SOMEONE STEPS UP AND SAYS,YOU NEED TO LOSE SOME WEIGHT,IT REALLY OFFENDS ME. AT TIMES IT MAKES ME MAD,BECAUSE THEY MIGHT NOT KNOW MY SITUATION.LOSING WEIGHT FOR SOME PEOPLE MIGHT NOT BE EASY.I LOVED TYLER PERRY'S MOVIES BECAUSE OF THE MESSAGES.IN OUR LOVES WE NEED SOMEONE LIKE,THE POLICEMAN ON THE MOVIE THAT MAKES US FEEL GOOD ABOUT SELF AND THAT WILL NEVER LOWER US TO A STANDARD THAT WILL HURT OUR FEELINGS.I MYSELF WILL NEVER GO UP TO SOMEONE AND SAY,YOU SURE ARE FAT.FEELINGS GO DEEP WITHIN AND A SCAR CAN LAST A LIFETIME.I SEEM TO WATCH THE MOVIE OVER AND OVER,I'VE GONE TO THE THEATER THREE TIMES TO SEE THE MOVIE,ONCE WITH FRIENDS AND TWICE ALONE,TEARS OFTEN FALL FROM MY FACE BECAUSE ALL THAT GOES ON IN THE MOVIE ARE WHAT GOES ON IN REAL LIFE.SOMETIMES WE AS A PEOPLE ARE LEFT AALONE,BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS TO DATE US.WE ARE THE TYPE PEOPLE THAT WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE THE PEOPLE AROUND US FEEL GOOD.WE DON'T DISRESPECT PEOPLE,BECAUSE WE HAVE HEARTS OF GOLD.IM GLAD THIS MOVIE CAME OUT BECAUSE IT LETS OTHER PEOPLE KNOW THAT NO MATTER WHAT WE GO THROUGH IN LIFE,THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT WILL GET YOU TO THE NEXT SPOT.ITS JUST A MATTER OF LETTING THAT PERSON INTO YOUR SPACE.I DON'T HANG AROUND PEOPLE THAT DOWNGRADE ME,I'M WITH THOSE PEOPLE THAT ENCORAGE,I KNOW WHAT I NEED TO DO AND I'M WORKING ON MAKING ME A BETTER PERSON.LOVING SELF,WHEN YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH SELF IS A TOUGH THING TO GO THROUGH.WHEN YOU GO TO THE MIRROR AND YOU SEE THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF CHANGES ABOUT YOU THAT NEED TO HAPPEN AND YOU BEGIN TO HURT DEEP WITHIN AND THEN YOUR SOUL WILL NEVER HEEL.LOVING SELF,NOMATTER WHAT SHOULD ALWAYS BE YOUR TOP SELLER.I HOPE TYLER PERRY KEEPS MAKING THE MOVIES THAT SHOW US THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS BETTER YOURSELF NO MATTER WHAT AND WHO YOU ARE.LOVE IS A POWERFUL WORD AND IF I FOUND SOMEONE THAT LOVES ME FOR ME AND NOT WANT TO CHANGE ME AND LET ME CHANGE SELF FOR MYSELF,NOW THATS A GREAT MAN

  14. Cliff Pass says:

    To all the haters that think that Tyler Perry could and should improve his writing skills, I have one thing to say to all of you; why don't you pick up a pen and paper and start writing yourself. The writing was terrific, the acting was superb by all. To Mr. Perry there are those of us that think what you are doing without the help of the large Hollywood studios is just fantastic and we want you to continue what you are doing and you will forever have our love and support.

  15. Angela Askew Hite says:

    Too all of you that support Tyler Perry, I give a shout out to you. Because that's what it's all about loving one another and finding good even when you don't understand why. Ask and it shall be answered. Someone asked, what happens when people challenge someone? Why do you need to challlenge someone when a challenge has not been proposed. My question is what has happened to the days of the old when your mother or grandmother would say, “if you don’t have nothing good to say, then don’t say nothing at all”? There is nothing wrong with stating your opinion, but when your opinion is all negative, you may need to keep it to yourself (in Jesus name). There are people who are actually paid to be critical. Please and I repeat please let them have their job. For those of you who are being critical, go back and read what you wrote, and read it out loud. Not only are you criticizing Tyler, but you are also criticizing other innocent individuals that chooses to support Tyler and enjoy his work. You are commenting about the status of people and their level of education. Mediocre you say, but wasn’t Jesus portrayed as common. He was a carpenter. However, scripture states that there was nothing common about him. :Touch not God's annointed and do His prophet no harm. This is a man of God - respect that. Or you so educated that you no longer remember where you came from? Tyler is displaying a message much greater than what you can envision. Yes, he is blatantly throwing out titles because of his present position or status; however, he appeals to a certain audience to let them know that he hasn’t forgotten about certain people because he was once there. . Which conveys to you that he is not in it just for the money, but he’s on a mission for God. Jesus came for the lost. He stated in His word that those that are well are not in need of a physician. If Tyler (by God's guidance) reaches only one person from each movie and play that he produces, then he has done greater things than any playwriter or producer that’s out there. His reward is in heaven, will also overflow here on earth. When he make it through the pearly gates, God is not going to ask him how much money he made or how many educated people he entertained. God is more concerned about lives he touched and the souls he saved – mission accomplished. So if we all just put on the mind of Christ, we will better understand the plot. We all have free choice. If it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. Just don’t try to hinder or discourage the next person.

    I truly love you all and may the grace of God and His peace be with each and every one of you.

  16. Angela Askew Hite says:

    By the way, I saw the movie twice. I found the movie to be poignant, authenticated and enlightening.

  17. Yolita says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the movie from beginning to end. I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced, I related. Tyler captures his audience in this film (as he does on all his films) and they “get it”. Good for you Tyler. Thanks for allowing us simple people of the real world see ourselves in all your characters. Keep up the good work.

  18. Dee says:

    For my birthday, three of my sisterfriends gathered at my place, Subway sandwiches, pizza, drinks, and of course, popcorn and we watched Why Did I Get Married? I'm an avid reader. I can be a snob when it comes to such things as how I spend my time. Watching Why Did I...? was time well spent. We laughed, we cried, and talked back at the screen, especially Wanda. Hee Hee. There we were, four grown women, single and dating, sobbing when Yoba's character cried and embraced Patricia. Perry is a genius in his ability to write simple, as in uncomplicated scripts that powerfully tug on our emotions. He knows his primary audience, black women.

    There's nothing wrong with critiquing a movie or book. Yet, when a critic only finds the weaknesses in a work that so clearly resonates with so many people, her or his words loses a bit of credibility for me.

    I think the proof is in the bank...that Perry's work has value. I salute him and applaud him. For those who think what he does is so easy a chimp can do it, let me know when your movie is hits the theaters. I'll be sure to let you know what I think.

  19. angela says:

    Simple screenplay at best, it is still refreshing none the less to watch a film with an all 'black' cast in a positive light, than the usual Soul Plane atrocious sort of movies that have been somehow green lighted left and right.

  20. naya says:

    I have to agree with all of Tyler Perry's supporters give the man his respect. I thank him for making his plays into movies, because some people can not afford to see his plays. But don't disrespect his art his vision. I don't care who you are u can relate to anything Tyler Perry put in front of you. It's up to you see it. Just because Jill Scott character is overweight doesn't mean her husband has to have an affair. I don't want to make it a race thing but African Americans can understand and relate to the characters more than non African Americans. We tend to allow religion to handle our problems more than other races. If Janet Jackson charcter was not a psychiatrist none of her friends would go and see a psychiatrist to deal with their problems they would just take it to the lord in prayer. But at the same time they still didn't see her a Patricia the therapist but patricia our friend who happens to be a therapist. It is as simple as this no matter your race, education, religion, gender, or sexual orientation people judge or critque what the dont understand and don't want to understand. And Tyler Perry baby keep up the great work. Oh and some found for thought where was all of the critism and negativity when all African American cast were in movies such as boys in the hood, menace to society etc. I didn't hear anyone complianing about how simple and redundant that type of writing was.

  21. Yemi says:

    This movies is brilliant. Yes, simple but addresses the issues. you can only have been there to understand the dept of what tyler raised there. I would pass that movie for and marriage counselling session any day. No obscinity. Extremely low budget. Conscise. It can only get better. Keep it up Tyler and hey! step it up a bit more. Bless you!

  22. Hepziba says:

    Circling the wagons just because Tyler has a tan does not exempt him from criticism.

    Everyone is defending Tyler mostly because he is the first black director to have significant success. But if the movie sucks, it sucks. I think prejudice against the white critic as something to do with it. I saw part of the movie and thought it was predictable and lame. Tyler has to take it as well as dish it out and so do his fans. Being black has nothing to do with the quality of scriptwriting or film making.

    If Tyler is so successful, his works should (at least once in a while) transcend the race issue. Why Did I Get Married had universal themes, but his over the top rhetoric and assumption that whites are inherently racist (did he really need that white lady in there saying "we don't take cash" to the women? I may be black, but I found that racist against whites) dilutes all that.

  23. Super Deadly Ham Attack says:

    It's great when a new Tyler Perry movie comes out, because you can see all the standard angry letter tropes in the comments - he can't be wrong because he's successful, Eric can't not like the movie because he's white, if Eric is so smart why doesn't HE make a movie? There's even a comment in ALL CAPS, but it was punching my eyes too hard to read all the way through, alas.

  24. adelarge says:

    I am a black woman and I think Tyler Perry is a HACK, plain and simple. His work is nothing but modern day minstrelsy.

    He does not "speak for all black women." I wish commenters would stop implying that you have to be black to understand because I see a black face in the mirror every day and I DON'T GET Perry's work.

    Perhaps if black audiences would consume media with a critical eye instead of blindly supporting garbage like this out of some misguided sense of solidarity, Perry would take a few scriptwriting classes and stop producing this mindless dreck. Or perhaps we could throw our support behind someone who deserves it (the next Spike Lee or John Singleton, perhaps?).

    Just my two cents.

  25. MXD says:

    How revealing that the latter few comments - from "hepziba" and "adelarge" are, by far, the best written and are also - no coincidence - the only two critical of Tyler Perry and his movies. In fact, I'd imagine it's embarrassing for any intelligent Black person to read the positive comments above, considering the horrible grammar, punctuation, and, most significantly, vacant logic. That a movie reviewer - who is DOING HIS JOB - should be brandished as a "racist" and a "hater" for giving a negative review is simply pure and blind ignorance. I completely agree with another point - it seems that many people here - and I'd imagine, in public - support Perry SIMPLY because he's Black. Guess what folks - THAT is racist. And sure, you can support his movies and pay your money to see his films and plays, and think and speak highly of them - that's your right. But that does NOT mean that they are high-quality entertainment. That does NOT mean they are well written or executed. Just because McDonald's is popular does not make it good QUALITY or good FOR you. Perry's movies simply point out that there's a significant market out there for this type of lowest-common-denominator entertainment. And that's fine. But ripping into a reviewer for writing an honest and accurate review of a low-quality film is narrow-minded and foolish. It misses the point. Which, in a way, may just be revealing.

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