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"TYLER PERRY'S TEMPTATION: CONFESSIONS OF A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR"
(2013) (Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross) (PG-13)

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QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A married woman, bored with her husband and her life, has an affair with a rich man and pays dearly for it.
PLOT:
Judith (JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL) and Brice (LANCE GROSS) are a husband-and-wife who have known each other since they were 6. They grew up together in a small Southern town, got married at 19, and moved to the District of Columbia to find work as a therapist and a pharmacist, respectively. Judith, though, is unfulfilled in the marriage despite her Christian upbringing by her pastor mother, Sarah (ELLA JOYCE). She has grown tired of Brice's calm, passive demeanor and his 10- and 15-year plans for their success and dreams. She craves excitement and adventure, a quick path to career success, and more exciting sexual relations.

Into her life comes Harley (ROBBIE JONES), a millionaire social media entrepreneur who believes in living life in the moment to its fullest. At the urging of her boss, Janice (VANESSA WILLIAMS), she flirts with Harley in order to get him to finalize a deal to acquire Janice's matchmaking firm. Judith's coworker Ava (KIM KARDASHIAN), meanwhile, gives her advice on how to spice up her clothes, make-up, and hair. An extramarital affair develops with Harley, who insists that she leave Brice.

Meanwhile, Brice works long hours at a pharmacy with a good-hearted elderly woman named Chapman (RENEE TAYLOR) and a shy younger woman named Melinda (BRANDY NORWOOD) who's on the run from an abusive ex-lover who infected her with HIV. Their lives eventually intersect, resulting in a tragic and heartbreaking revelation.

OUR TAKE: 2.5 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a couple of paragraphs about the film's artistic merits.

In this line of work, I see pretty much every Tyler Perry movie that comes out. And, yeah, I often pan them pretty hard. Inevitably, the responses I get are, "Well, Ted, his movies just aren't made for you." The implication being that Perry writes, produces, and directs films specifically for a black audience and not my white self. I reject that line of thinking. I give positive reviews to any number of flicks each year that are not specifically targeted at my age, race, color, or creed. In the case of "Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor," though, I will agree with the above statement. This movie is not made for me. It's made for people who don't care about good writing and competent direction.

The film tells the sad tale of Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Brice (Lance Gross), a young married couple who grew up together in a small Southern town and have moved to Washington, D.C., so he can be a pharmacist and she can be a therapist. They've known each other since they were 6 and have been married for six years as the film opens. Consequently, life has become a bit stale. He takes her to cheap buffets and forgets her birthday. She works long hours and laments about his lack of ambition. Into her life comes millionaire social networking entrepreneur Harley (Robbie Jones), who turns a business relationship into something much more personal. In the span of a few days, the once buttoned-down Judith rejects her marriage, her Christian upbringing, and all of her common sense and is having sex with the guy on his private plane, snorting cocaine like she's Tony Montana, and wearing designer clothes.

Pity the three lead actors here, who are set adrift by a screenplay that Perry seems to think is his "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" It's all so heavy-handed and clunky. At the same time, he doesn't even realize he is making high camp by casting Kim Kardashian as a vapid office coworker of Judith's and Vanessa Williams attempting a howlingly bad French accent as Judith's boss. Worst of all, Jones is quite terrible in the key role of Harley, the Devil who causes the angelic Judith to fall. The part called for an actor with real rakish sex appeal. Someone like Shemar Moore or Boris Kodjoe was needed. There's no "Temptation" here at all, folks. Save your money. This rates no higher than a 2.5 out of 10. (T. Durgin)




Reviewed March 28, 2013 / Posted March 29, 2013


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