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  Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns

Starring: Angela Bassett, Lance Gross, Rick Fox, Jenifer Lewis, Tamela J. Mann

Directed by: Tyler Perry

Produced by: Tyler Perry, Reuben Cannon

Written by: Tyler Perry

Distributor: Lionsgate


     Even though I have never been able to offer up my wholehearted recommendation of one of his pictures, I like Tyler Perry. His work appeals to a largely untapped niche-audience—Southern, Christian African-Americans—and I can respect its function to cater to the needs of said audience. In other words, as the polar opposite of someone his films are targeted at—a white, agnostic Californian—I can appreciate the fact that they appeal to others, but have rarely been able to respond to them myself. (Don’t get me wrong, though – never has a Perry film been an intolerable sit for me; even I laughed so hard I cried when I first saw Madea chainsaw the couch in Diary of a Mad Black Woman.) Perry’s latest effort, Meet the Browns, is unlike the rest of the titles on his resume, however. The picture was not merely made for an audience; it panders to an audience.

     Full of hollow characterizations, Meet the Browns coasts not by appealing to the interests of its target-viewer, but simply by providing them a story that they might potentially relate to. Wasn’t it kind of obnoxious of Perry to think that he could get away with this? I’m sure that there are many people in the aforementioned group who have experienced events in their lives that are similar to those that single-mother protagonist Brenda (Angela Bassett) does in Meet the Browns, but so what? To exploit the empathy and sympathy of these viewers for the sake of efficient, pointed filmmaking only makes the act a greater problem for Perry: just because he can appeal to people doesn’t mean that he will by default inspire them. What’s worse is that he begins to stereotype his audience through his characters; isn’t it a tad racist of him to assume that most black moviegoers can identify with the urban problems presented in Meet the Browns?

     Not to mention, Perry is far better at making comedy come to life than he is with drama, anyway. As such, Meet the Browns comes off as a big-budget, extended episode of a soap-opera at best. I have never much cared about Perry’s inability to branch out to viewers like me, but I sure hope that his next picture shows the same respect to his established audience that those he made prior to Meet the Browns did. It would be a shame for such an underrepresented group of moviegoers to lose the very artist who delivers the bulk of the releases made for them.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 3.24.2008

Screened on: 3.22.2008 at the Regal Escondido 16 in Escondido, CA.


Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns is rated PG-13 and runs 100 minutes.

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