Saturday, February 17, 2007

Daddy's Little Girls

I don’t like formulaic movies. I don’t like date movies. I don’t like formulaic date movies. And yet I do love a good love story.

Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girl is so formulaic that one has to look very hard to find the love. Yep, it’s a date movie. But because it’s a black date movie it brings in issues from the black community.

Heroine Julia Rossman (played by Gabrielle Union) is typically stereotypically up-and-coming educated successful Black and Monty (Ildris Elba) is typically good-but-poor-and troubled hard-working racially-affected black man. Yet, for all that, the story’s possibilities weren’t explored. The plot just grinds away; coincidence, improbable (but cute and plot-pushing) scenes follow one after the other…that the character’s actual lives never really get explored.
Okay, I’m a terrible person to see movies with. I’ll admit it. I cringe at bad plots. I (rolls eyes) cringe at preachiness. I wince at characters doing out-of-character things, and I absolutely freak at emotional scenes that are utterly unearned. Yep, I hate unearned emotion. If someone is gonna fall apart and stress out in the climactic scene of the movie because life is hard, that scene better have had its foundations well-laid and well-played. There ain’t nothing worse than some weird emotional scene – love or hate, I don’t care—coming at me from out of the blue.
I kept thinking: "Dang, that’s not what the character should be doing! Dang, that’s not where this story should be going! Dang, that just wouldn't happen."

Okay, okay, a lot of folks in the theater were laughing and chuckling. Well, obviously they aren’t anal writers like moi-meme.

So, is there anything good about this movie?

Well, I’ve got to say that Tyler Perry’s good points and bad points seem to stem from the same sources. He’s very aware of what to do to make an audience feel as if they’re "connected" to the characters and "in the know" about the culture. He touches on little (or deep) bits of black culture that audiences will recognize. Thus they will claim the movies as their own. For instance, he is good at the homey bar scene, the sorrowing black male, the church meeting.
(As an aside, here, I’ve got to say that black male filmmakers have done a really good job of slickly intertweaving a good church scene into their movies. Like Capra, they slip in a good sermon in such a way that one never really feels preached at. I actually was encouraged by the sermon and the church scene. Perhaps we Black Christians will make movies at least make a nod to God and church again.)

But back to my main objection. The film seems tooo toooo toooo aware of its audience. Okay, there’s the cornbread circuit and all those Black plays but honestly!

Call me a pain but the main part of a romance is about the growth of the characters and how they overcome their own issues to accept and love each other. If heroine is black woman who makes 6 figures and falls in love with poor hard-working neighborhood guy with kids and baby-mama, the psychological aspects had better be explored, if you ask me! But the heroine is nothing more than her job. She connects to her true love by rescuing him because she’s his lawyer. Where is her PRLONGED SHAME AND STRESS about reconnecting with poor folks? Where is her fight with the baby mama? Why couldn't we see the main female character as a woman -- not as a job title-- dealing with baby mama drama as a real woman and not as a lawyer? Come on! And what about that ending? Honestly, I didn't see that coming. If Tyler wants to talk about stressed black men under pressure, then he should have shown the tension growing and increasing throughout the story. I'm not against violence but dang! That ending was kinda over the top. And then, our hero !!!! ???!!!! is saved by the law. Is the ideal woman for a good black man a female lawyer? And can anyone tell me why Tyler has sooo many druggie abandoning-their-children ho-bitches in his films? In real life, isn't it usually the guys who abandon their kids? More so than women. I think I've got to stop the review here because if I'm not careful I'll start psycho-analyzing Tyler.
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