Diary of a Mad Black Woman
If you force-fed a goat a pile of whiny Lifetime movies, "700 Club" episodes, and Saturday morning cartoons -- then waited 24 hours -- "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" would be the probable extrusion.
The plot is deceptively simple, considering it chews up 120 minutes of your precious time on Earth: Greedy lawyer Charles (Steve Harris) tosses wife Helen (Kimberly Elise) out of the house after 18 years of marriage to make room for his mistress. Helen, whose only skill is shopping, seeks refuge in the home of her wacky grandmother and learns how to make her own way in life.
The grandmother, Madea, is played by the film's auteur, Tyler Perry, the only person on the planet who makes a less convincing woman than Ann Coulter. I guess there are no talented black female actors over 50 on the planet. Which is a shame, really, because Perry plays her with such over-the-top, cartoonish energy that she spends most of her time ranting and raving and firing guns in the air like a black Yosemite Sam. It's painful to behold, and destroys the flow of the movie like a strategically placed pipe bomb.
Helen eventually gets an actual job and is doggedly pursued by the world's most annoying man, Orlando (Shemar Moore). Orlando is supposed to be an earthier, more sensitive alternative to Helen's evil ex-husband, but instead he comes across as a "Just for Men" beard model with a penchant for spouting condescending self-help platitudes. It got so bad I wanted to call 911 and report an explosion at the platitude factory. His romantic interaction with Helen plays out like a shampoo commercial. He says, with utter sincerity, "I love you so much, I'd go to the grocery store and buy you feminine products." He is a feminine product. Orlando's the kind of guy women think they want until they actually get one and discover that having someone cook you a heart-shaped omelet every morning isn't worth being asked "are you thinking about how much you love me, pwecious?" every twenty fucking seconds.
Anyway, greedy lawyer ex-husband hits a rough patch and ends up in Comeuppance General Hospital, in the special Villain Suite, and Helen must decide what to do about it. Here, we drop all pretenses of being a regular movie and go right to the full-time proselytizing. Here are some of the ostensibly Christian moral lessons we take away from this movie:
- It's ok to torture a quadriplegic, so long as you're mad enough.
- Addicts are addicts because they're just not loved enough. (So shame on you, parents and spouses of addicts.)
- A man who has just popped the question will happily wait around for months until you deign to answer.
- Don't hate your enemies. Just make it clear to them that they're small, amoral, pitiable creatures who barely deserve the gift of life. Then make a big show of forgiving them.
The climax, which I call "double singin' redemption hoedown" may be the worst, most contrived, most awkward film ending in the history of modern cinema. However, I must admit it made me cry tears of joy: At long last, I could flee this unholy travesty of a movie.
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