Meet the Browns latest Tyler Perry movie to lose with critics and win at the box office


When I opened the paper Friday and saw that Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns received a C-, I knew it would make a lot of money. The movie raked in $20 million dollars and placed 2nd at the box office behind Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who ($25 million).

The Dallas Morning News ran a review by Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer tagged Do we really want to ‘Meet the Browns’? Here are some of the lowlights from Rea’s review:

  • There’s nothing subtle about Tyler Perry and his black-centric movies. The farce is in-your-face, the melodrama has more soap than a Laundromat…come mounted on billboards.
  • But that said, the playwright, actor, director and drag queen (yes, his bewigged and be-wild Madea makes a brief and totally gratuitous appearance in his new film) knows how to give human dimension, and a dimension of humor, to the cliches and stereotypes.
  • And so Brenda and her kids head for the sticks to meet the not-so-bereaved Brown family, engage in dinner table discourse and city-versus-country culture clash…and watch some over-the-top comic antics from Jenifer Lewis (as the family drunk) and David Mann (as a Southern-fried fool with a retro wardrobe).
  • It’d be nice if (Tyler) took more time to think about lighting and staging a scene – but hey, he really doesn’t have to.

This dude, whoever he is, called Mr. Brown a Southern fried fool and Tyler Perry a drag queen. ‘The Browns’ did not give a wide press screening, but do you blame Mr. Perry? It’s a given that mainstream critics are going to blast his work while his frequent theaters to enjoy his films.

Again, getting panned by the critics is nothing new for Tyler Perry. I checked out a Dallas Observer review of “Why Did I Get Married” by Jim Ridley. Here are some of his thoughts:

  • Tyler Perry makes movies for a hundred reasons, and a love of cinema doesn’t even make the top 99.
  • He uses a camera pretty much as a recording device, as if afraid some of that fancy mise-en-scene might taint his message or screw up the stage material he has road-tested so thoroughly.
  • No, there’s not a microbe of subtlety…but the writer-director-producer-star would rather save your soul and your marriage than engage your aesthetics.

Mr. Ridley’s last point is interesting because my wife and I saw the film at a movie grill with the marriage ministry at our church who rented out an entire theater. On top of that, we met with a group of couples last night and the inspiration for that meeting was Tyler Perry’s Married. I for one am glad Mr. Perry is more interested in marriages and soul saving than using the right camera lens.

O.K. for good measure let’s take a look at a review of Madea’s Family Reunion done by Christy Lemire of the Associated Press. She gave the movie a D+ in a review that ran in the Dallas Morning News.

  • Tyler Perry’s heart is in the right place, but he still has a tin ear.
  • Later, Vanessa will get on stage at a club during a poetry slam to perform one of her painful original works: “He. Gives. Me. Courage. To love.” It’s one of many scenes that feel corny through the smothering use of romantic R&B music.
  • At times it feels as if Mr. Perry made three separate films, dumped them in a blender and hit the purée button.
  • Madea’s Family Reunion, which wasn’t screened for critics before opening day, is the only movie you’ll see this year that features protracted flatulence jokes, a plot twist involving child molestation and a poetry recital by Maya Angelou. Unless all three show up in Scary Movie 4, of course.

Mr. Perry’s movie franchise is unmatched by a black filmmaker. His films have earned over $200 million so far, but the good thing is Mr. Perry’s job is not to please his critics (a.k.a. haters) but his fans.

I can’t wait to get to the theater to see what Mr. Brown is wearing. I’m going to let Mr. Rea make it this Easter weekend with that “Southern fried fool” comment. But that doesn’t mean that you have to (


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