Home | Review Archive | The Bucket 'Blog | Screening Log | Film Festival Coverage | Contact Danny


  Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?

Starring: Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson, Sharon Leal, Jill Scott, Denise Boutte

Directed by: Tyler Perry

Produced by: Tyler Perry, Reuben Cannon

Written by: Tyler Perry

Distributor: Lionsgate


     I love, love, love the background story behind playwright-turned-filmmaker Tyler Perry’s career. At one point in his life, Perry was a poor artist living out of his car in Atlanta, struggling to survive. Somewhere in his ingenious mind, he realized that he would be able to find success if he wrote and directed theatre performances made for the untapped audience that he himself belonged to: that comprised of Southern, African-American Christians. After enduring several bumps in the road, he did exactly that, and soon came to be worth millions. Putting together plays that featured himself dressing in drag onstage playing the very old and very black Madea, Perry accomplished the miracle of selling tickets to a group of people that advertisers had assumed would never come to see live theatre. And he did the same thing at The Movies, where members of his devout audience proved that they too could create impressive box office numbers.

     Why Did I Get Married? is the fourth film that Perry has made in the past three years, the third that he has adapted from one of his plays. It has only been in release for a couple of weeks, and is already a resounding success (especially when its measly production budget is taken into account). Perry’s trademark Madea isn’t present here, but the filmmaker headlines the cast as usual, this time around playing Terry. Terry is one of the members of four married couples who, every year, take a vacation together to relax and focus on healing their apparently always-troubled marriages. This year, the group of eight has decided to rent a cozy cabin in the middle of a range of snowy, isolated mountains – amidst a wealth of new marital problems. Revelations and hardships ensue.

     As was the case with Perry’s two Madea-featuring films (Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Family Reuinion), Why Did I Get Married? both endears by and suffers from so selectively targeting an audience. Never in the course of this film’s duration does Perry forget the demographic that makes up the bulk of his ticket-buyers and, as a result, he haphazardly throws in several story and character-related gimmicks to please this demographic. On one hand, it’s great to see an oft-ignored group of moviegoers finally being presented a work that they are able to identify with. On the other hand, it’s unfortunate to see films with as much promise as those of Perry bogged down by unnecessary, erroneous material designed to appeal only to the most viable audience. Whether this technique is implemented when a character randomly reminisces about a part of Southern Christian culture or forcedly embraces said culture’s vernacular (I rolled my eyes every time the Los Angeles-based Janet Jackson blurted out the terms “y’all” and “frontin’” in Why Did I Get Married?), it always proves distracting and unnatural.

     Then again, Perry likely wouldn’t have found the success that he has had he not formulated films that catered to such a specific audience. His most mature work to date, Daddy’s Little Girls (not adapted from one of his plays), was the most mainstream of his efforts and was the only one of them to commercially tank. I am almost content with the fact that I have never fully been able to connect with Perry’s work due to its exclusivity, because in said exclusivity he has forged a genuine excitement for film and theatre in a group of people that rarely used to patronize the Arts. Why Did I Get Married? surely suffers artistically from several trivial quirks invented solely to please its target demographic, but I’m not sure how significant this is given the fact that only a minimal number of people who don’t belong to said demographic will see the film. Perry’s large fan-base will wholly appreciate the movie and, in the end, this is all that really matters.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 10.26.2007

Screened on: 10.13.2007 at the Edwards San Marcos 18 in San Marcos, CA.


Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? is rated PG-13 and runs 118 minutes.

Back to Home