Friday, December 26, 2008

Would you pay to see this movie? The Tyler Perry conundrum.

Let's avoid any pretense and get to some disclosure. I'm a middle aged white writer. Tyler Perry is a black writer, actor, director and producer and legitimate entertainment mogul. Do I just not get it? Am I so removed from the world that Tyler Perry takes his inspiration from, that the material is beyond my appreciation? I'd like to think that movies, and entertainment in general, have that elusive universality that enables audiences across all backgrounds to simply appreciate great storytelling. I think I'm right. Tyler Perry's work leaves me wondering.
There is one thing I'm certain of. Positive in fact. That is that Tyler Perry has a massive ego. I'll give enough ground here to say that he's possibly just obsessed with establishing his identity as a brand name, but you have to admit he likes to see his name in print. LARGE print and above the title. What the hell, he's earned it. His productions have been, if not colossal, certainly steadily successful. He deserves his due and as a business man, I tip my hat.

And that leads me to wonder how and why. I have to say that after watching the trailer for The Family that Preys, earlier this year, I was impressed with everything except Tyler Perry. That is, his presence in the film, that at least by the footage in the trailer, seemed arbitrary and distracting. He's simply not as good an actor as the other actors he's smart enough to cast in the parts he writes. His name emblazoned above the title just seems to emphasize this oversight of ego. Get out of the movie, let the title carry your advertising and be content to read the end credits for your ego buzz. Just a thought.

But with that thought in mind, now comes the trailer for Tyler Perry's newest movie, Madea Goes to Jail ("new" as a relative term as this story has apparently already seen life as a stage play and a 2006 video release), and it jumps back to all of the things I don't get about Tyler Perry. Front and center is his character Madea. Aside from being in a complete fog about why black male actors seem obsessed with playing overweight, embarrassingly stereotypical and shamefully exaggerated black women (see Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and nearly all of Mr. Perry's headshot resumé), there's a mix of what looks like wildly broad comedy with serious social issues that seems as conflicted and schitzo as having Axel Foley look into a mirror to see Granny Klump staring back. The trailer for the upcoming Madea Goes to Jail seems entirely fractured and illogical. Even the poster seems to be taking itself too seriously. (That's the new poster up top, the one at the right is from the older and apparently obscure video.) 

But like I said, I may just not get it.

Do you? The trailer is embedded at Moviedozer .com and you can take a look by clicking anywhere in this sentence then scrolling down until you reach the trailer. Go watch, get a sense of what's going on, then click the link next to the trailer to return here and post an opinion. Let your fellow moviegoers know what you think and help us decide just what we might be missing about Tyler Perry. And just in case Mr. Perry himself should be reading, you can't be too upset. After all, we've just put your name in print 11 more times.

As for the rest of you, would you pay to see this movie? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking a moment to comment. Please do so with respect to all of our readers. Thanks.