Movie Review: Tyler Perry’s not-so-tempting “Temptation”

1half-starThe thing that made Tyler Perry rich is much in evidence in “Tyler Perry’s Temptation,” called “Confessions of a Marriage Counselor” when he toured with it on stage.
There’s no Madea here. But the women are beautiful, serious about clothes, makeup, hair and church.
Older women are “Wise Counsels,” the name of a female-centric church in the movie. And they typically get all the funny, sometimes profane, always “you-listen-to-me-child” lines.
The men are shirtless, rapacious heels, or sensitive pretty boy disappointments. That doesn’t matter, as these movies are first and foremost,”chick pictures” — sermonettes abut relationships, deserving more and eventually getting it.
Just the women, I mean.
But “Temptation” is a cautionary tale about wanting what you haven’t got. The marriage counselor Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) at the heart of it is young, gorgeous, in a glamorous job with a high-end D.C. dating service. She married her childhood sweetheart (Lance Gross), a pharmacist and a serious stiff — looking at goals 10-15 years down the road.
And the Internet tycoon who may invest in the marriage counselor’s business? He (Robbie Jones) has money, confidence and “unsafe sex” written all over him. Her husband, in turn,  might be tempted by a secretive and cowering new cashier (Brandy Norwood) at his pharmacy,
Ella Joyce, as Judith’s preacher-mother, and has the “Madea” role — sassy, testy and all-wise.
Perry clumsily frames this story as a tale a counselor (Candice Coke) tells a young woman thinking of cheating on her husband. The timing of the comic moments is off, and the film drags and drags before reaching a conclusion anybody can see from a mile off.
The quartet of leads is blander-than-bland. The “Temptation” of the title is a come-on and a false promise. How “tempting” can a movie about cheating be with a PG-13 rating?
Casting Norwood, the vapid clothes horse Kim Kardashian as a shallow, judgmental colleague in the dating service and former Miss America Vanessa Williams as the boss of that service suggests that Perry is drawn to women who have been media (and man) victims, from time to time.
But the filmmaker has points to make, about wealth and the allure of the new.
“There’s nothing wrong with being rich and having nice things — so long as the nice things don’t own YOU.”
“We become a lot of different people before we settle into who we are.”
With homilies like that, I expected Perry to get into the talk show/advice game long ago, but Steve Harvey beat him to it. Cranking out two formulaic movies like this a year shows the Atlanta mogul’s true ambition — replacing all those soap operas TV is canceling, two hours at a time.

(Go here to read about “Temptation’s” success or failure at the box office.)

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, sexuality and drug content
Cast: : Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Lance Gross, Vanessa Williams, Brandy Norwood, Robbie Jones
Credits: Written and directed by Tyler Perry. A Lionsgate release.
Running time: 1:51

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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8 Responses to Movie Review: Tyler Perry’s not-so-tempting “Temptation”

  1. tony says:

    Just from seeing the movie and i have to say it was good something i wasnt expecting but worth ghe wait. I have to give rotten tomatoes credit for recogonizing a wounderful movie keep up the good job. To u other crities well you all need to give black films some support because their great movies out with a all black cast. wake up

    • It has zero percent approval, all bad reviews, on Rotten tomatoes.
      Plenty of people at the late Thursday night showing I went to. It’ll make money. But until Perry makes a flop or two, he is never going to get better.

    • Jay says:

      You’re wrong. You can’t give a “black” film credit just because it’s a “black” film. That’s NOT equality. Tyler Perry sucks and panders to the lowest common denominator across all races. Your poorly spelled comment is evidence of that.

    • blu says:

      well said Tony

      • Honey, if you thought that was “well said,” a school system owes you an apology. Tyler tries to get out from under this crap back catalog, but people don’t pay to see “For Colored Girls” or “Alex Cross.” He knows that he’s “banking” garbage money with junk like this. But he’s trapped, thanks to you.

  2. blu says:

    You all are haters!!! shrugs…. well at least Tyler is the one bankin!

  3. Ms. Rose says:

    I don’t care what the critics have to say about any movie I am interested in viewing. I will be seeing this movie tonight. I support all movies, whether they are “black” or “white.” “Equality.” Come on already it’s 2013, wake-up!!!. Go out and support!!!

  4. Pingback: Critics slam Kim Kardashian's performance in Tyler Perry's new movie Temptation

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