Tyler Perry’s latest boils down to a marriage of two very different traditions: the downtown feminism of Ntozage Shange’s influential 1975 play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf and the Chitlin’ Circuit box-office bait of the playwright, movie director, and cross-dressing actor, whose best-known role is the saucy and amply padded Madea. Shange’s play features a blend of poetry, music, and drama performed by women identified only by the colors they wear. Through poetic monologues, they explore issues like domestic abuse, love, rape, abortion, and spirituality. The movie adaptation packs plenty of star wattage (Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, and Phylicia Rashad), but it’s uneven as it shifts from sisterhood to soap opera. If the abusive males in The Color Purple and Precious weren’t repellent enough, consider the depraved lineup in For Colored Girls, which includes cheaters, abusers, rapists, husbands who give their wives HIV, and fathers who murder their children. While the same stories were told retrospectively in the play, acting them out onscreen makes them more vulgar than poetic.
Director: Tyler Perry
Writer: Tyler Perry and Ntozake Shange
Producer: Tyler Perry, Roger M. Bobb and Paul Hall
Cast: Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Tessa Thompson, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad and Macy Gray