There’s been some hubbub about the fact that media mogul Tyler Perry has his own production studio but is yet to hire any black writers. Well, I know a pretty decent black writer; I shave him every morning. But if Tyler Perry came to me and said he wanted to make one of my books into a movie, I’d politely decline.
Personally, I have nothing against the guy. I don’t knock his hustle; it’s better than most business ventures he could have undertaken. And as an actor, he’s okay; I liked him in Star Trek (2009). Heck, I even thought he did a fine job in Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. Probably because those roles were created and written not by him. I tried watching one of his TV shows, House of Payne, I think it was called; it was awful. The Madea movies I wouldn’t go anywhere near; I stopped caring about black guys in drag after Flip Wilson’s Geraldine. The bits and scraps of his other films that I stumbled across always resembled souped-up stage plays in terms of acting, sets, and script. How he hasn’t yet made a movie called Mama, Don’t Smoke Crack In Church is beyond me.
Anyway, on to the film. A Fall From Grace is the first TP film I consciously watched from start to finish. And…….um……….. Wow. Every famous saying proves itself at least once, and when it comes to his films, Perry truly is a jack of all trades, and master of none. I’m not sure how much dough Netflix gave him to do this flick, but judging by what I just saw, I hope the cast and crew get a chance to use that Kohl’s Cash before it expires.
Bresha Webb plays Jasmine, a put-upon public defender charged with the task of getting a plea deal out of Grace, played by Crystal Fox. (Though they’ve done other people’s films, Webb and Fox are some of the go-to’s of Tyler Perry’s stable of actors.) Grace is a divorced mature lady who’s accused of killing her new younger husband, which, for some reason is all anyone in this town can talk about. Nameless talk radio hosts and sticker-on-a-van news crews are all abuzz. Why it’s such a high-profile criminal case is unknown; Grace isn’t a public official or celebrity, she’s a Sunday school teacher who bakes cookies for kids and sings in the choir (though we see her doing none of these things during the movie).
Jasmine gets stuck with the Grace case because it’s known far and wide that she sucks as a public defender; even Jasmine herself isn’t all that interested in actually defending people, until suddenly she is. With Grace, anyway. Once Grace spills the story of how she got caught up in a “worldwind” romance with hunky slab of beef Shannon (played by Mehcad Brooks, who needs to take that stupid wig off and get back to Supergirl, stat), Jasmine’s convinced that Grace didn’t murder him, despite Grace’s confessing to bashing Shannon’s head in with a baseball bat and throwing him down a flight of stairs.
The flashbacks, staged with less production value than an episode of Forensic Files, do nothing to convince us that Grace and Shannon were in love; they had all the chemistry of oil and water. Anyway, Shannon turns out to be a no-good, thievin’, cheatin’ so-and-so, and he and Grace take turns chewing the scenery until she lets him have it with the bat. Grace’s friend Sarah sells her out, in more ways than one, and a bunch of other ridiculous stuff happens to pad this turkey out to two full hours. The “twist” at the end of the movie is enough to make you either scratch your head all the way down to bare skull, or laugh hard enough to make milk spew from your nose, even though you’re not drinking any.
It’s recently come out that Perry made this “film” in about five days. Maybe that’s why they didn’t give the extras real food to eat. Maybe that’s why it has almost as many continuity errors than Benny Hill’s Police Raid in Waterloo Station. Or maybe, just maybe, Tyler Perry’s not a very good writer/director/producer/actor. Pick a lane, and stay in it, and you just might win a race every now and again.
Now that I’ve seen a complete TP movie, I can say I’ve been TP’d, then clean up the mess, and pretend like it never happened. Negative one out of five stars. That’s right. -1.
Have a gander at this Twitter thread; I ain’t the only one who regarded this as a hot mess.