Fact: I have seen seven out of Tyler Perry’s eight theatrical outings to date, save for his latest, the ominously titled I Can Do Bad All By Myself (review forthcoming), which I will soon catch up with as someone with an unhealthy fixation on catching every film that’s granted a wide release in theaters while he still can.
Fact: I have only ever reviewed one of those seven films on assignment, last September’s The Family That Preys, and I’ve made a considerable effort to avoid reviewing them since. Asking me to write a new review for a new Tyler Perry movie is asking me to find new ways to re-word “preachy, pandering, tone-shifting, gospel-laced soap opera,” and frankly, if Mr. Perry isn’t going to be ambitious enough to change things up, neither should I.
Fact: I acknowledge Perry’s business savvy, which more often than not results in his films opening at number one on their smartly selected weekends and more often than not contains just enough of his shrill Madea character to get the same butts back into seats. Case in point: last February’s Madea Goes to Jail, in which Madea doesn’t go to jail until the last 20 minutes and is then promptly released. What was it really about? A roughed-up prostitute and the man who can do right by her. Opening weekend? $41 million. (Number of remotely likable white characters in it? Zero. Seriously, every last one was a stuck-up prude. Just leave us honkies out next time if you can’t have us say anything nice, Mr. P.)
And so Tyler Perry takes the weekend as Myself took in $24 million, or more than new releases 9 (number two, with $10.9 million), Sorority Row (number six, $5.3 million) and Whiteout (number seven, $5.1 million) combined. Inglourious Basterds continued to creep up on Quentin’s all-time high in third place ($6.5 million), All About Steve crept down to fourth place like the sneaky stalker it’s all about ($5.8 million), and The Final Destination slipped from the tip-top for two weeks down to fifth place ($5.5 million). District 9 was number 8 ($3.6 million), Julie & Julia managed a fine hold for six weeks in ninth ($3.3 million), and last week’s Gamer took an inversely steep tumble of 65 percent to close out the top 10 ($3.1 million).
See? Gamer can do bad all by itself too.