I Can Do Bad All By Myself (3 of 4)

Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself tells the story of a club singer named April, played by Taraji P. Henson, who has her self-indulgent lifestyle interrupted when her dead sister’s kids come to live with her. April must change and learn how to love someone other than herself as she gets pushed on a path towards her own redemption. 

At the start of the movie she is sleeping with a married man, struggling with alcoholism and acting violently disagreeable to everyone. Once the kids and a Columbian handyman, played by Adam Rodriguez, move into the house as favors for the church, her life slowly begins to unravel. All of the destructive choices she makes on a daily basis become spotlighted for her niece and nephews and who turns out to be their Columbian protector.

The Biblical idea that everything done in the dark will come to light becomes a theme, but the good news is that after the exposure of these sins and wrongs there is healing.   

Not surprisingly, this is a very unoriginal storyline. But it’s a good storyline. The message is well said and unwavering. There is a sermon in the middle of the movie about the parable of the woman who loses a coin and searches her entire house because she values it. The pastor explains that we have to search for the lost coins among the people in the church. That we have to love the un-loveable that we can’t give up on the “coins” that are in the crevices of life. This is the point of the film–also, it’s so well said that it’s reiteration as the characters begin understanding it drags a bit. But there aren’t many movies like this! While there is questionable content, the message is almost flawless. The coins when left alone do bad things (do bad all by themselves?), so they need to stick together. Get it?

I do have complaints, though. First of all, the acting is terrible. Outside of Taraji and Rodriguez the cast made me cringe many times. Especially the young actress playing April’s niece and her thugged-out married boyfriend (who would marry that tard?!). Even Madea is a little off, another take might have done Perry some good this time. And the direction was a little off. There was a few times I just thought, “I’d like this as a close up” or “I wish this wasn’t the angle” or “Why didn’t they run through that a few more times?”  But it’s a fast produced movie, so oh well.

Two final thoughts, first I don’t have a clue what genre this is. A friend pointed out that it’s almost a musical, and he was right. Many of the pivotal moments and changes happen through song. But then there is a cheese-ball romance between Rodriguez and Henson a gritty SVU style sexual assault and physical abuse story, a story of faith and redemption, and some flat-out crazy Madea moments. And the Fanta girls show up at a block party in the closing scene! What do you call that?! 

And secondly, I wish there were more movies like it.

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