[Screen It]


(2014) (Nia Long, Amy Smart) (PG-13)

Read Our Full Content Movie Review for Parents

Dramedy: Five single mothers whose kids go to the same school form a support group to help each other through life's travails.
Five single mothers are summoned to their children's private school when the kids are caught spray-painting the premises and smoking after class. Rather than expel the students, the principal convinces the school board to let the five moms handle the planning, staging, and chaperoning of the school's annual dance. From out of that, the women form a bond and then a club that acts as a support group for each woman's trials and tribulations.

There is Jan (WENDI McLENDON-COVEY), a workaholic book agent who used a sperm bank 12 years earlier to get pregnant; May (NIA LONG), a local journalist and aspiring author who tries to keep her only son away from his drug-addicted father; Hillary (AMY SMART), a recently divorced mother of three who is having to deal with severely reduced spousal and child support; Esperanza (ZULAY HENAO), another divorcee who has had to hide her bartender-boyfriend, Manny (WILLIAM LEVY), from her jealous and controlling ex-husband, Santos (EDDIE CIBRIAN); and Lytia (COCOA BROWN), a blue-collar waitress struggling to pay for her son to go to the expensive private school so as to keep him off the streets.

In addition to Manny and Santos, we meet the men in the other women's lives. There is T.K. (TYLER PERRY), a local electrician who takes a liking to May; Tony (SEAN CARRIGAN), a coworker of May's who she fixes Jan up with on a blind date; Branson (TERRY CREWS), a fitness specialist who aggressively pursues Lytia; and Peter (RYAN EGGOLD), Hillary's hunky next door neighbor who she awkwardly flirts with while waiting for her divorce to be finalized. All five couples have their share of challenges on the way to happiness and self-fulfillment.

OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
This film was not screened for the reviewing press. In such cases, we only provide a couple of paragraphs of critical analysis.

There is nothing overly bad or wrong with writer-director Tyler Perry's latest movie, "The Single Moms Club." It's well-meaning. In fact, it's very well-meaning. I would even go so far as to say it is excruciatingly well-meaning. But therein lies the problem. It's OK to make a nice movie; a clean movie; a movie about nice, clean characters in messy relationships. But don't make that film and those characters SO DULL! Seriously, I would have fought slumber if I didn't have to take notes. "The Single Moms Club" just wants to open up its arms for two hours and give all of the screwed-up ex-wives, single moms, and ladies of labor on screen and off a big ol' collective hug. But that's about all it wants to do as a motion picture, and that's just not enough.

The story follows five single mothers who are called to their kids' swank private school one day after their little darlings get caught spray-painting and smoking after class. Rather than expel the kids, the school forces the various moms to team up and put on a school dance. The five include: Jan (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a workaholic book agent trying to make partner; May (Nia Long), an aspiring author trying to shield her son from his drug-addicted dad; Esperanza (Zulay Henao), who has been secretly dating a man for a year, but is still controlled by her mentally abusive ex-husband; Hillary (Amy Smart), a "Real Housewives"-esque rich girl who just had her spousal and child support slashed by a judge; and Lytia (Cocoa Brown), a blue-collar waitress working her fingers to the bone to send her son to the expensive school and keep him off the streets.

These different personalities form the club of the film's title. But then ... uh ... they just don't do anything interesting with that club. It immediately turns into a rotating babysitting ring that allows four of the five ladies to go out each Saturday night to the movies or to a wine bar or to Chippendale's together while the fifth stays home with all of their collective spawn (who magically all go to sleep together like little angels each and every time). In Perry's way-nice and forgiving world, each of the gals gets her own good-hearted hunk to replace an absolute heel from her past, each get words of wisdom told to them at just the right moments, and they all line up one right after another in the last 10 minutes for one happy ending after another. When did my happy ending come? Yeah, when the end credits rolled. I give this a 4 out of 10. (T. Durgin)

Reviewed March 13, 2014 / Posted March 14, 2014

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