Tyler Perry’s ‘Acrimony’ as purely a form of entertainment is undeniable; ‘Blockers’ is not as funny as it should or could have been
As last week’s only two new releases were ape science-fiction/adventure “Rampage” and teen horror flick “Truth or Dare”, and as I would have been more interested in watching several hours of blurry raw footage of the editors of those two films at work than those actual motion pictures, I decided to catch up on a couple of movies released a few weeks ago.
Tyler Perry’s “Acrimony” (Rated C)
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Ajiona Alexus, Crystle Stewart
Genre: Psychological thriller
Dwight’s rating: 2 stars
They should have labeled this one a horror.
It’s said to be a psychological thriller, but generally when characters are this stupid you’re usually watching a horror flick.
“Stupid” might be a bit harsh, but you’ll be shouting and screaming at the screen from beginning to end at the idiots in Tyler Perry’s “Acrimony”.
In it, a faithful wife (Taraji P. Henson) is tired of standing by her devious husband (Lyriq Bent) and becomes enraged when it becomes clear she has been betrayed.
This one is tough to review without revealing too much. But let’s just say things aren’t always what or how they seem.
Pack your patience, though! The first hour, at least, is infuriating. Between the ridiculous decisions of Henson’s character, Melinda, (also portrayed as a younger Melinda by Ajiona Alexus, who also plays the younger version of Henson’s character on TV’s “Empire”), and Henson’s incessant and oppressively negative narration, it’s hard to sit still in your seat and believe the nonsense you’re seeing on the screen could actually happen to people even remotely in touch with their faculties.
Midway through, though, there’s a dramatic twist and change in the whole tone of the production. It’s very bizarre, and from a filmmaking standpoint, it’s actually problematic. We’re not just seeing a different or alternate perspective on the story; it’s practically a whole new film.
However, as purely a form of entertainment, it is undeniable. Writer and director Tyler Perry is (often, unfortunately) always trying to teach his audience life lessons. And if you’re open to that, “Acrimony” certainly works as a cautionary tale.
In fact, this is an interesting date movie, and best suited for the early stages of a relationship. Have a discussion about it afterwards. The character your date feels was truly the victim, and the one with whom they most sympathize will say an awful lot about them.
Personally, I believe there is clearly a wrong answer. And if that person gives you that answer and tries to justify it, be afraid! Be very, very afraid!
You’ve been warned. Don’t be stupid!
“Blockers” (Rated C)
Cast: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton
Dwight’s rating: 2.5 stars
Julie, Kayla and Sam are three high school seniors who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter are three overprotective parents who flip out when they find out about their daughters’ plans. They soon join forces for a wild and chaotic quest to stop the girls from sealing the deal — no matter the cost.
That’s the premise behind the raunchy adult comedy, “Blockers”.
It’s a decent and admirable idea, delving into some important issues that many find hard to discuss.
Unfortunately, execution is a bit of an issue here, and overall “Blockers” is not as funny as it should or could have been.
The dual perspectives of the parents and teens is sullied somewhat by the silliness of the parents; the teenagers actually handle their potentially life-changing situations with much more maturity and grace.
It’s also not really clear why this needed to be a (US) rated-R comedy. While at times, it does get a little cringe-worthy, most of the salty language seems to have been thrown in there just to be slightly provocative.
“Blockers” ultimately could have benefited from a little less slapstick from the parents, a little less of the unnecessary bawdiness and a little more focus.
Otherwise, it’s really only unwatchable if you’re a parent sitting next to your teenager and you’ve never had these kinds of conversations before. I can’t imagine anything more uncomfortably awkward!
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email [email protected] and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.