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RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
- Girl Talk: The Women of Married Featurette
- Male Bonding: The Men of Married Featurette
- Janet Jackson’s Nothing Music Video
- Couples Character Guide
Turns out Tyler Perry is very capable of doing a bad movie without Madea in it at all.
- Tyler Perry as Terry Brock
- Janet Jackson as Patricia Agnew
- Jill Scott as Shelia Jackson
- Sharon Leal as Dianne Brock
- Tasha Smith as Angela Williams
- Richard T. Jones as Mike
- Malik Yoba as Gavin Agnew
- Lamman Rucker as Troy Jackson
- Michael Jai White as Marcus Williams
- Louis Gossett Jr. as Porter
- Cicely Tyson as Ola
The four married couples from Perry’s 2007 original reunite in their annual get-together, this time in the Bahamas. Many of the issues from the first film carry over to this one, and a few new ones arise, which test the commitment of all of the couples to one another.
White: “A toast, to a possible Black Dynamite 2.”
Perry: “And another Madea movie.”
I covered the first one here. Basically my take was that it was a barely semi-enjoyable rehash of several previous Black relationship movies, but with a couple of noteworthy performances, mostly by Tasha Smith and Jill Scott. Any and all good will I had for that first installment evaporated quickly with this maudlin, hackneyed, wheel-spinning tedium of a sequel. In the original Perry brought virtually nothing new to the table in the genre. In this installment, he absolutely brings nothing new, but rather exacerbates the negatives of his first film, loses any and all appeal from all of his characters and creates a narrative that is merely a series of set pieces for trite dialogue and played situations.
very few of the issues facing the couples in the first film are
resolved, and the couple of new situations have few teeth and less
originality and dramatic hook. These include distance in the marriage
of Jackson’s Patricia and Yoba’s Gavin due to the death of their son;
and constant bickering from White’s Marcus and Smith’s Angela. Perry’s
Terry and Leal’s Dianne have a new – yet still the least interesting –
issue facing them, and Sheila’s (Scott) and Troy’s (Rucker) problems
center around money, with a bit of previous marriage hangover courtesy
of Jones’ Mike, Sheila’s ex. What’s most important here is that, of the
nine main characters, there’s almost no one left to root for, as
everyone is a victim of their own flaws to the point where, in most
cases, you’re rooting against them.
Wait, whose marital problem are we discussing in this scene again?
First Marcus and Angela. In the first film, they were the put-upon, unemployed husband and the mouthy, bitchy, alcoholic, successful wife. She shit all over him constantly with the volume set on 11 because he was a washed-up, former pro jock with ex-wife issues and a history of cheating. For the most part, that worked in the first film and was fun. Here, not much has changed interpersonally, except that Marcus has now gotten a TV football analysis gig, is feeling the success, and Angela, whose salon is seeing hard times, needs something new to bitch about. So she bitches about his having a job, whereas she bitched about his not having one before. Her drinking is still a problem, but not as much; yet she’s ratcheted the bitch factor up to twice what it was before.
White was refreshing in the first film, showing that he had range beyond kung fu-ing someone into oblivion, and Smith was entertaining in her boisterousness. They argued over real things, mostly his relationship with his ex-wife and her drinking. Here, though, Perry has essentially nothing new for them so he just turns up the volume. Angela goes from entertaining to just a downright harpy asshole, whose main arc consists of nagging Marcus for the password on his cell phone to, well, that’s pretty much it. And where Marcus’ exasperation in the first film was a source of laughter, here it also merely gets turned up to where you’re left to think that he deserves everything he gets from his wife because he should have left that bitch long ago.
Wait, whose marital problem are we discussing in this scene again?
Leal and Perry have the most stable relationship of the four couples, or so they thought. The issue of their having another baby in the first film has been handled with the addition of their son to the family. But it’s soon revealed that Leal might be having an affair when she has a slip of the tongue in bed. Terry and Dianne are little more than the nexus of exposition for most of the film until their issue kicks up about half way through. But Leal, and especially Perry, drift through their performances for the majority of the film to such a degree as to need to be thrown life preservers. Whereas I thought that Perry was the sedate hub of the first film, here he’s just a charisma and drama vacuum, who can’t even muster the energy to rail against Dianne when he finds out that her heart is with another man. Perry looked either bored or tired or both from doing quadruple duty on this film (writing/producing/directing/acting). Leal, sadly, wasn’t much better.
The most engaging relationship from the first film was that of Sheila and Troy, who fell in love and got married after Sheila was ignominiously and spitefully dumped by Mike. Their progression from that film to this is the most organic, but covers territory that is all too familiar from Nia Long and Mekhi Phifer in Soul Food: he’s got no job, can’t get no job, and her ex is making a rough go of it for both of them. The honeymoon is literally over for these two and so is much of the appeal. Meanwhile Jones, who was deliciously malicious as Mike in the original, is hamstrung by a melancholy regret in dumping Sheila. But this melancholy hides a life-changing issue he faces alone, and is fairly easy to guess early on. The three of them get the best service from Perry’s script, but it’s nowhere near enough to salvage the film.
Gossett, Jr.: “This reminds me of a time on the An Officer and a Gentleman set…”
Perry: “Clinging to that film with a death grip, ain’t you Lou…?”
Finally, Gavin and Patricia are the most frustrating element of Too, as every bit of their issues from the first film are retreaded here, again and again; and again with the volume turned up. In a nutshell, she’s been destroyed by guilt over her son’s death in an auto accident where she was driving, and has retreated in every way possible from her husband. He’s waited for her for years, but is now fed up and ready to move on. Their initially-amicable divorce devolves into money grubbing and bitterness. Jackson spent the entire first film wallowing in her misery without accepting help, and she spends all of this film doing likewise, accept now she smokes in a key scene for dramatic effect.
The meat of her dialogue: “I’m fine…. We’re fine…. No really, I’m/were fine.” The meat of Yoba’s dialogue: “You’re distant…. I love you, but you’re distant…. Fuck it, I want your money because you’ve been distant.” She eventually becomes as bitter as he is and, although he accosts her physically one night while drunk, there’s no way in hell you can possibly root for her because her intractability is drawn out so friggin’ long without any meaningful resolution, that you’re more than willing to write her off. And happily so. Perry tries to paint her as the most most sympathetic character by far, but in reality, she gives you nothing whatsoever for which to feel sympathy. In fact, she becomes the biggest bitch in the whole picture. The abrupt resolution of Patricia and Gavin’s arc is laughably bad.
Well, the movie wasn’t all bad…
Cicely Tyson and Louis Gossett, Jr. show up for a class-filled cameo. In retrospect, you end up wishing that at least half of the main cast had been dropped in favor of their characters. Why Did I Get Married Too crawls through most of the same relationship sludge as its predecessor did and effectively squanders any of the appeal of that film. Tyler Perry can do bad all by himself, but this time, he has plenty of help.
The look and sound of the disc are fine in 1.78:1 and English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, with English and Spanish subtitles. In terms of special features, there are two character featurettes: Girl Talk: The Women of Married and Male Bonding: The Men of Married. There’s also the Couples Character Trivia Guide Track and a music video for Janet Jackson’s theme song, “Nothing.”