STUDIO: Lions Gate
MSRP: $19.98
RATED: Not Rated


Tyler Perry had an idea while on a toilet at KFC. Greenlight it! What do you mean, wait and see? It’s about a hospital and shit. Think E.R. but blacker, cheaper and more cost-effective.


D’Atra Hicks, Chantell D. Christopher, Tamela Mann, Terrell Carter, Chandra Currelly-Young, Ryan Gentles and David Mann

Scrubs is going to look a lot different in 2009 thanks to UPN!


What’s Done in the Dark is a recording of a live performance of the popular 2006 stage show. Taking place in an urban hospital emergency room, we come to learn about life from two nurses and one cantankerous old man. Illicit affairs and troubled lives are the order of the day, as people come together to make sense of modern life. If that doesn’t sound like your bag, then you’re in for a very slow moving two hours and twenty minutes. Tyler Perry takes his sweet time running the premise into the ground.


David Mann gets what Tyler Perry is trying to do with these shows. Mann plays Leroy Brown, an elderly man that has been escorted to the hospital emergency room by his daughter Cora (Tamela Mann).  Nurse Kerry Johnson is one of the first women to meet Mr. Brown,  as we slowly get through some trite comedy and then a bit of background. She’s having an affair with the chief of staff who is hiding a giant secret. Then, there’s Brenda Rhoads and her basketball prodigy kid named Calvin. He’s been doing some underhanded things on the side which has landed him in the hospital. If that wasn’t enough, you get the sex-crazed stereotype that’s in love with the on-call doctor.

By Chapter 98, Trapped in the Closet just got lazy.

What makes the film work is the immediate connection with the target audience. The mix of music, communal humor and playing on common stereotypes allows for easy anchors. Women are either saints or whores in this tale and men are always dogs. New viewers to the Perry tales might find great difficulty with this DVD. It’s a boisterous production that features many actors projecting with audio assistance to the back of the theater. Loud and sometimes annoying, the scream acting can wear thin.

The meteoric rise of Tyler Perry has been a subject that has fascinated me for the last three years or so. The ethnic morality plays have been touring America for decades and no one has managed to raise them out of the confines of the community theater. Gone are the days of Mama, My Arms Are Too Short to Box with God and now we get the introduction to what comes dangerously close to being a new mammy figure. Don’t worry, folks…there’s no Madea in this film.

What’s Done in the Dark supposedly has a point.  It’s just that after the two hour point, I didn’t care anymore. Morality plays are lame and only speak to my central belief about humanity. They like to fuck and hear themselves talk. Everything else is incidental and ultimately means dick. That took less than a minute and was pretty entertaining. Well, to me at least.

Everybody loved to watch Laverne turn into the Lawnmower Man.


What’s Done in the Dark arrives on DVD with a thud. There’s no real reason for anyone outside of the Tyler Perry target demo to pick this up. But, if you’re a big fan of the church community social scene, then you’ll love the same ol’ shit you bought the last time Perry dropped a digital turd. Change never comes to the Perry Universe, so you don’t have to worry about seeing something different. You can turn your brain off and Schiavo out with this.

The A/V Quality on the DVD is unsteady at best. The transfer never shakes off that digital sheen that comes from poor stage lighting and a digital presentation. The audio never finds a right mix on the Dolby track. The front channels get assaulted with the actors screaming their lines. But, there’s never anything pushed to the back. All music, dialogue and sound cues are forced into the center channel or brought into the front left and right speakers.


The supplemental material is non-existent on this disc. So, if you were looking for something extra, you’re barking up the wrong tree. The battle to find a market for these kinds of films is becoming easier and easier.  While it’s nice to see different cultures and target groups being represented on home video and in general pop culture, there comes a point of no return. When will we stop giving every lame group their shot at DVD. Fuck, we don’t have a decent digital presentation of “The African Queen”, but we’ve got seven Madea performances on DVD? What the fuck, America? WHAT THE FUCK?!?

It’s about to get crunk up in this bitch. Crunk means nasty, right? I don’t know what you fucking kids say anymore. It all sounds like hibbity jibbity to me. I hate your slang almost as much as I hate the decline of the African-American theater. But, that’s a tale for another day.

5.7 out of 10