a sort of strange film. it’s one of those quiet films that did really well. quiet because it’s a “black” film and while it certainly didn’t do $50 million in the box office solely on the back of black audiences, it does appeal primarily to african-americans. perry began as a playwright and worked his way into cinema later in his career. his films center around themes of urban reality, the black experience and a grandmother figure named madea who is sort of his version of eddie murphy’s matriarch in the nutty professor. in this film perry plays three characters: madea, her husband and the cousin of the title figure. as is true with the nutty professor films, the funniest moments are those when the matriarch is allowed to take over. this film, though, doesn’t revolve around madea and her over-the-top antics.
it’s about madea’s granddaughter whose husband recently threw her out of the house for another woman. it’s this juxtaposition of serious drama and absurdist humor that represents both the best and worst of the film. it’s the best because i think it does both fairly well and it’s the worst because it’s difficult to shift gears between the two extremes. i also really enjoyed the fact that it could make fun one moment and make an honest indictment of culture and provide a positive example the next. it addresses the realities of marital abuse, drug-use and relationship woes, but isn’t above getting cheap laughs. frankly, i think it’s a film that is potentially very positive in part because it keeps its sense of humor and realizes that its primary function is to entertain. it’s like “mean girls” only the message is more poignant and more central to the film. i liked that mean girls had a positive message, and one that i felt was honest, but that message wasn’t as central to the film as are those brought up in diary of a mad black woman. while it occasionally flirts with being cheesy i think it’s mostly forgivable because its an ambitious film in a genre that is too populated with the likes of soul plane and king’s ransom.