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Diary Of A Mad Black Woman

07 Dec

Diary Of A Mad Black Woman – directed by Darren Grant. Broad Comedy. Expelled from her home by her wealthy husband on her wedding anniversary, a beautiful young woman, with the aid of her family, wreaks revenge and reconciliation, once she finds her juju. 118 minutes Color 2005.
★★★★★
I had never heard of Tyler Perry’s works and days until recently. I had always assumed it was something not for me – low Hollywood comedy – but it isn’t. It isn’t if Jonathan Winters is low Hollywood Comedy, for this is what the range of invention and useful madness the actor Perry grants us. It is excruciatingly funny. It is low comedy all right, but not low Hollywood comedy, for Perry is the playwright as well as the actor, and his work rises from another source than Hollywood and another place within him.

He plays various roles, obviously, for he is not an actor of rich distinctions – but boy are his characters installed! They erupt from him like geysers. To prove it, two things to note. One: Just watch his playing a cut courtroom scene on the out-takes in the extras. It is a mad brilliant improvisation. Two: just watch how good other actors are with him, and watch the cut scene with Cicely Tyson, to see how responsive an actor can still be with this great big crayon character Perry is putting forth.

Yes, the exquisite Cicely Tyson is here and she plays her scenes to perfection. She is the link to spirit which brings the piece to its heartful resolution. A resolution that made me happy.

The script is very well formulated and balanced, by Perry, and cast and directed and filmed beautifully. It’s principal time is given to the getting some gumption of the mad black woman, well played by Kimberly Elise. Steve Harris is terrifying as her husband. But the find of the film is Shemar Moore.

He has the best part in the piece, really, or he makes us believe he has. He plays a man in love with the mad black woman, and he plays it completely open, which is what the character is. He’s physically a great beauty, but as a leading man he is consummate. He reminds me of that remarkable actor Guy Pearce. He has the same lower eyelids, the same upper lip, the same carriage of his head on his neck, and the same display of masculinity. He couldn’t ask for a higher credit.

His playing of every scene is sweet, lyrical, real. He is the one you care about. You don’t care about the mad black woman, because she whimpers. She has no spine. And the actress, although good in the key scenes when she is mean to her helpless husband, still remains divided, and for no good reason that we can believe in. It should go: “Charles, you ever heard of nurse Ratchett? She did her job. But she loved doing her job more than I love mine taking care of you. I’ll do it until my conscience is clear, or until I realize it will never be clear. You understand what I am saying, Charles?” Helping him should threaten to make her a worse person, were it not that ruthlessness is a higher state than whimpering or indecision.

Fortunately Moore tells her off. But it’s not quite enough to win her to us. It’s a fault in the writing, which by and large, is bold, economical and true. I recommend the picture highly. I laughed myself silly. In my books, belly laughing is a very high state of being.

 
 
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