Arts & Entertainment

Tyler Perry's 'Married Too': No Ordinary Love

Tasha Smith and Michael Jai White star in the new Tyler Perry film 'Why Did I Get Married Too?'

Tasha Smith and Michael Jai White star in the new Tyler Perry film Why Did I Get Married Too?. Quantrell Colbert/Courtesy of Lionsgate hide caption

itoggle caption Quantrell Colbert/Courtesy of Lionsgate

The perceived lack of "eligible" men for "successful" black women and the fairytale rise of America's first black family are not coincidental. Michelle Obama has found her Prince Charming, her (archetypically perfect) "Denzel" in the most unlikely of places with the most unlikely of dreams and through their hard work and tenacity, that dream prevailed.

Now, every single black woman you know feels entitled to her "Denzel," and no less will do. Small wonder there are more movies, books, radio and TV specials about the single black female conundrum than ever, as sistas look high and low for a "Denzel" of their own or a formula that will give them a fairytale ending of their own.

However, Tyler Perry chose to tell a different story.

Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too? — a big-screen, low-budget novella with Sunday School theater sensibilities — provides no answers or formulas. Impossibly vapid characters in improbably tragic circumstances ricochet through a verbose script built on entire scenes of talking devoid of action, or over-stuffed with ridiculous twists of action.

But there is something quite remarkable about this film, which grossed about $30 million when it premiered last weekend.

Catharsis in dramatics is about finding commonality with certain characters in a work of fiction, but Married Too confounds convention by intentionally crafting a reverse catharsis: We all look up at the screen and go "thank God that ISN'T me."

Instead of encouraging black women to see everything wrong with their men, Perry's film implicitly encourages you to look at what's right in the love you have by reminding you it could always be worse.

Say what you will about the shucking and jiving in his other fare, with Married Too, Perry decides to craft a film pulling the conversation about black relationships back into the community and off primetime TV.

Jimi Izrael is a freelance journalist for TheRoot.com, an author and a regular contributor to 'Tell Me More.'

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