[Screen It]

(2010) (Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson) (PG-13)

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Dramedy: Four African-American couples deal with the ups and downs of marriage in the modern world.
Four African-American married couples decide to meet at their timeshare in the Bahamas for a vacation. Each couple has their own share of problems, though, that come out during the holiday.

Terry and Dianne (TYLER PERRY and SHARON LEAL) appear to be the happiest, but Terry is slowly suspecting Dianne of having an affair. Angela and Marcus (TASHA SMITH and MICHAEL JAI WHITE) constantly bicker, and Angela has major trust issues with regards to her husband. Newlyweds Sheila and Troy (JILL SCOTT and LAMMAN RUCKER) have serious money issues, having just moved from Colorado to Atlanta for Sheila's work. They have two mortgages, and Troy has been unable to find a new job. Finally, Patricia and Gavin (JANET JACKSON and MALIK YOBA) are privately on the verge of divorce, but neither is willing to confide in their friends.

Into this mix comes the divisive Mike (RICHARD T. JONES), Sheila's abusive ex-husband who has decided to take his timeshare vacation on the same week as the various couples. His presence angers Troy, unsettles Sheila, and makes the others feel uncomfortable as well. Eventually, the nine meet an elderly couple (LOUIS GOSSETT JR. and CICELY TYSON) who remind them why they are lucky (and unlucky) in love.

OUR TAKE: 5.5 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics (or are done so late the night before they open) is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing study knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

Actually, Tyler Perry movies are a whole 'nother story. They'll probably never be previewed for critics, because their audience is SO built in. Perry writes, directs, and co-stars in this latest film that revisits four married couples (this is a sequel to the 2007 hit, minus the "Too") as they travel to the Bahamas on a timeshare vacation. Of course, the holiday exposes all sorts of fractures in the four marriages that have to do with infidelity, lack of trust, lack of money, and (most heavily) loss of a child.

Perry will never be accused of being subtle or nuanced. As with his other films, he mixes broad comedy with heavy-handed melodrama to an almost awkward degree. And the film's "All You Need is Love" concluding message is laughably simplistic considering how deeply flawed these couples are together (at least two really should get divorced). Thanks to its winning cast, though, the film is surprisingly likable and rates a respectable 5.5 out of 10. (T. Durgin)

Reviewed April 2, 2010 / Posted April 2, 2010

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