Movie Review: "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (2005)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
It wasn't too long ago that I was discussing what were some of the best black films to come out within the 21st century, that is if you read Why Today's Movies Suck, Part 4: When Spike Lee Met Madea. Well, thankfully, nothing with Madea was noteworthy enough to add to that category. And so that leads me to this chemically deranged experiment of a film, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman".
While it is true that, depending on the demographic (whether you are Hispanic, Asian, black, white, etc.), people want to see movies that present situations and people that are relatable. But my oh my, it's certainly strange why this movie is so popular. Never mind trying to relate to a specific audience, this movie is just bad. And I don't mean bad in a guilty pleasure sort of way.
With that said, I will say a few good things about it. "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" has some well-acted performances, the editing is great, and Kimberly Elise steals the movie, she's the real star here. But as soon as Madea steps into the picture, it's like we're watching a totally different movie.
Let's talk plot, shall we?
"Diary of a Mad Black Woman" is the story of Helen, housewife to Charles, a millionaire and a bastard all rolled into one. He treats her like crap and she does the exact opposite. It's not long before he kicks her out of their mansion, I mean his mansion, in order to make room for his new 'lady friend'.
Orlando (Shamar Moore), a U-Haul truck driver, knows about this because he helped moved the lady's belongings there. Orlando is the good guy here, he sees what's going on and offers Helen a ride after she gets kicked out. However, Helen ends up kicking Orlando out of his own truck and drives it to Madea's crib. And so the movie switches gears from here on out.
Madea instills hatred and revenge in Helen against Charles, first by accompanying her back to the mansion to cause havoc. Everything from here on out is an incoherent mess, where does one begin?
...Or was it three? Actually, I lost count.
I guess Tyler Perry and George Lucas do have a lot in common. When it comes to a story's tone, they can't make up their minds, it's just constantly changing. Now, from an initial perspective, one could assume that this film may have potential but all of that immediately gets flushed down the toilet when the Madea character takes center stage.
One minute, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" is a drama, next it's "Big Momma's House". This is a horrible, horrible mixture. Did a toddler write this script?
Buy One Character, Get One Free -- Personalities and Motivations Sold Seperately
"Diary of a Mad Black Woman" had traces of potential character depth but Madea and the countless plot holes were holding it back. This movie thrives on plot convenience like you won't believe. Let's take Charles for instance. His drug-dealing client has zero connection to him and is simply forgotten about once his purpose has been fulfilled (which is to injure Charles so that Helen could feel sorry for him and take revenge).
Speaking of Helen, she had the most potential out of all the characters. What initially starts off as development soon transforms into cardboard cutout nonsense. And just in time for the ending of the film, Perry shoves it in our face that all is well now and she has someone she's happy with.
Then you have Helen's true love, played by Shamar Moore, his potential is also held back as he is simply used to cover up the film's loose ends. Tyler Perry just decides to keep him stuck in the good guy love interest role all the way through.
The Church Scene
Don't get me wrong, I believe in God, so I apologize if this segment offends anyone who is religious, it's not meant to. But this church scene does not belong in this movie. It is so over the top that it's bad. And going back to two tone scripts, this scene goes right back to that point.
We go from destroying property, ghetto nonsense, verbal and physical threats to the church scene. The tone is off, way off.
What did you think of "Diary of a Mad Black Woman"?
Make Up Your Mind! Make Up Your Mind!
Following the church scene, Helen is having a big family dinner with Charles, he has been saved and all is well now. He is a new man. But wait, Helen takes something out to give him -- Divorce papers!
Where on Earth did these come from? Hmm. I guess Tyler Perry must have really been desperate to wrap everything up, given the running time. It was just done so randomly, it felt out of place.
When you think about it, it kind of doesn't make any sense for this to happen at all. Period. Did Charles deserve it? Yes. But he and Helen had undergone an extraordinary experience in the church scene when he redeemed himself. Then she shoots him down with the divorce papers at the dinner table. What was the point again?
In addition, to make things look even more stupid than they are, the scene following this involves Helen running through a factory like a mad woman as she searches for Shamar Moore's character so she can be with him, all while dodging dangerous machinery and ignoring the workers' warnings. How epic and touching. Give me a break.
Random Things That Make No Sense
- During the scene where Madea escorts Helen back to the mansion to pack her things, Madea gets sidetracked by the two-tone script to rip up Charles' clothes as well as his Mistress's, then she talks Helen into joining her. While I agree with Madea by all means, shouldn't she help Helen pack her things first? They just stopped when they were halfway through. At least get that part out of the way? Just saying.
- Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston -- These types of jokes are as old as stupid comedians dressing up as old ladies in movies. The Bobby/Whitney joke occurs at the end of the brief courtroom scene after the judge talks with Helen and Madea about trashing Charles' place, it just felt so shoehorned in there.
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