I did not see Tyler Perry’s moderately successful 2007 film, Why Did I Get Married. I never thought that would present much of a problem with his recent Why Did I Get Married, Too. I’ve seen plenty of Perry’s films and think that I have a pretty good grasp of where he’s coming from. Early this year I watched and reviewed I Can Do Bad All By Myself. It was a new direction for Perry and, while he did include his famous Madea character, the film wasn’t really about her usual antics. I guess I expected this film to follow in the footsteps of that rather impressive effort. Unfortunately, I may have misjudged my ability to follow this film without having seen the first. Either that, or Perry has gone terribly wrong somewhere along the way.
This is the story of four couples who have obviously been friends for a long time. As the film opens they are about to attend a marriage retreat, at least that’s what the dialog leads us to believe. What they are really doing is gathering at a time-share condo in the Bahamas for a week of hanging out together. The only resemblance to a retreat is a tradition they share on their final night together. They gather on the beach around a campfire and take turns telling the story of why they got married. I suspect they should all know these stories by now, but this year the trip certainly threw in a few surprises. The most stalwart marriage is apparently ending.
The second half of the film follows the couples back home to Atlanta where they play out the revelations and suspicions that were just beneath the surface, in some cases, on the island resort. The results run the gamut from comedic to quite violent and serious. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but there is a rather disturbing morality to the final moments of the film. One of the characters receives sympathy and rewarded with a form of happiness after causing a tragic event. Some might look at earlier events and call it poetic justice, but I’m not sure that’s what Perry intended to convey here, at least I hope not.
The cast and characters are mostly retained from the first film. It’s really a series of vignettes between the couples or in groups of the men or women offering their gender-specific take on the other half.
First up is Marcus (White) and his wife Angela (Smith). Marcus has just found some fame as an anchor for a sports news show. He can’t seem to stop talking in football metaphor. He really goes the whole nine yards, not content to sit on the sidelines, and trying to deal with the full on blitz from wife Angela. She’s worried that the ladies are a little too taken with her man. She has trust issues that are tied to a history of cheating and his unwillingness to give her his cell phone password. She really fills out the stereotype with the loud public displays of anger.
Next is Terry (Perry) and his wife Diane (Leal). They are the comfortable family. But Terry has noticed that Diane has started to act a bit more chipper of late. She’s getting flowers and wearing sexy clothes to work. His suspicions are eating away at the guy.
Then there is Sheila (Scott) and her new husband Troy (Rucker). She’s insecure after having one bad marriage. Troy just moved to Atlanta for her but doesn’t have a job now. They’re not doing well financially and actually spent their last few bucks for the vacation. Troy’s none too proud of the situation. It doesn’t help that her ex-husband Michael (Jones) shows up at the condo.
Finally, there is Gavin (Yoba) and his wife Patricia (Jackson). This is the couple that everyone has looked up to. She’s a counselor and is the unofficial leader of these couples retreats. It is this relationship that the drama and real tragedy comes from.
The strength, if there is one, of the film can certainly be found in the performances. There’s no point in denying that Perry knows how to cast and to get exceptional performances out of his players. This film is no exception on that score. One of the most notable examples has to be Janet Jackson who has to play one of the more emotionally- charged characters. There’s very little of the Perry whimsical nature in her character. To add to the issue, the film was in production when her brother Michael died suddenly. I can only imagine how hard it was, not only to continue to work, but to deal with this intense kind of material. I’m not a Janet Jackson fan at all, but my hat’s off to her for dealing and delivering as she did here.
Why Did I Get Married Too is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec at an average of only about 18 mbps. The island shots never really take full advantage of the natural beauty. Instead, this film feels like a television production. Most of the camera is filled with cast pretty much non-stop. There’s little environment to enjoy. That means colors and detail are going to be limited by more than the weak bit rate. Black levels are average. The close-ups do give you improved detail and very natural colors. There really aren’t any textures here. All of this only adds to the television feel of the film.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is all about the dialog. There isn’t much in the way of surround use or ambient sounds to be found. There are a few moments when the sub really comes alive, however. Dialog is fine. You can hear everyone and the placement works. Most of this is very front-and-center, which is likely what you expect from this kind of film.
Girl Talk – The Women Of Married: (10:55) The female cast discuss the film’s concepts from the women’s point of view.
Male Bonding – The Men Of Married: (12:14) This time the guys present their own point of view.
Music Video: (2:45) Janet Jackson’s “Nothing”.
Trivia Track Mode
DVD & Digital Copy
I would expect this film to play to Perry’s strengths. He has a flair for relationship situations and is rather talented at bringing together the right cast for the characters. He’s often accused of dipping too far into the black stereotypes, and that might well be the intention of the Madea films. I hoped these films might be different. Instead, I found the film played not only to black stereotypes, but gender ones as well. He doesn’t leave any married cliché unmined either. The film ends up dragging. I wish I could collect a dime for every time I looked at the running time count down on my player display. It’s pretty bad when the best moment in the film involves a dead woman’s ashes, an unpredictable wind, a cameo by Louis Gossett, Jr, and one of Angela’s meltdowns. Enough said. Perry has gone somewhat astray here. Maybe I’m just not in his target audience. Still, I think there’s more wrong here than that. Come on, Perry. I know you can do better than this. “Fix it.”