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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005 movie) » User review

I was pleasantly surprised

  • Mar 19, 2008
Rating:
+4
Pros: Story, acting, pacing

Cons: Mr. Harris distracts playing the role he always does

The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a real comedy, look elsewhere. This film is more romance than anything else, and I think it does romance justice.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

After I wrote what I did below, I glanced through some of the other reviews. This is among the most widely and wildly rated movies I've seen in a long time. Since the story is relatively simple, I sort of found that shocking (just a note a propos of very little).

Diary of a Mad Black Woman isn’t a comedy. If memory served, that is how it was marketed. So I was disappointed when it turned out to be something very much other. The film written by Tyler Perry (who plays 3 parts: Madea (flamboyant doyenne), her grandson Brian, and her brother Uncle Joe) and directed by Darren Grant is a romance. Comedy is probably 4th in importance in what is really a nicely layered piece.

Helen McCarter (Kimberly Elise) is the diarist whose husband Charles (Steve Harris) is a super successful attorney. He receives an award on the evening of their eighteenth anniversary. Shortly after this, Helen discovers that her things are being packed into a U-Haul and that Charles has had a woman on the side, Debrah (Tamara Taylor). Since all was in his name, Helen has nothing and must find a place to stay. She opts for her grandmother, Madea. Madea helps Helen come to terms with getting over her situation and getting on with a new one.

The new one includes the very handsome and Romantic, Orlando (Shemar Moore). Their romance drives a significant portion of the middle of the film. Orlando asks Helen to marry him at the same moment that footage of her husband being shot is on television. Charles had been involved in shady drug dealing and was unable to get his client off, so the client grabs a guard’s gun and shoots Charles leaving him paralyzed. Helen goes back home (their divorce not yet finalized) and plays a game of part revenge part love. This is all that need be said about this storyline.

A sub-plot involves Brian, who is also an attorney and Helen’s relative. His wife is a drug addict. He is deeply in love with her, but refuses to help her each time she asks during the film because of the same old story—he tries and ultimately she fails.

In order, Diary is a romance, a revenge story, a religious story of faith and redemption, and finally a comedy. If you are looking for laughs, look elsewhere. Madea is very funny, but her screen time is so limited that the comedy never gets to stick around that long. If you want a romance, the film will likely not disappoint.

Typically I’m not fond of films where one actor plays multiple parts (Coming to America being the notable exception), but Diary works if for no other reason than that Mr. Perry’s characters don’t steal the show. The film belongs to Helen and is or would be a star turn for Ms. Elise. I despise sap, but while Diary had some, it wasn’t enough to make me angry at it. I kind of hate to admit that it gave me warm fuzzies.

Major and minor characters play their parts well. The only exception to this is Mr. Harris. He plays the same role on his side of the camera no matter what. In this way, he did not disappoint, but would that someone else was cast here. To balance this out the film offers up Mr. Moore who plays a working class true Romantic extremely well.

The pacing and flow of the story was organic and never forced or hurried unnecessarily. Diary told the story it intended at the proper speed. As much as I dislike saying this too, I am compelled to. The whole package is just a family story that covers a couple of months in the lives of those who are part of it. It implies events and relationships prior to the events and points to others that would follow, but taken as a whole, it is a family story that works very well.

Religion runs throughout. Anyone familiar with my essays (not covering products) knows my stance on this. It fits the movie but I was never comfortable with it. Since I mentioned it in the general analysis I couldn’t leave it out. While this facet distracted me, it will not affect my general rating.

If you want a romance with some extra (and interesting) window dressing then there is no reason to avoid it.

Recommended:
Yes

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More Diary of a Mad Black Woman (20... reviews
review by . May 24, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
After reading a lot of these reviews, I came to understand the why number of people disliked this movie and found it farce. They've never been an angry black woman. Tyler Perry did a superb job at pulling out all of the emotions of the barely acknowledged abused black woman. I think that even with all the humor, the movie right on the money in portraying shades of black people that the mast majority of people don't get to see.    Shemar's character may have seemed over the top …
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Paul Savage ()
Ranked #57
I name and describe everything and classify most things. If 'it' already had a name, the one I just gave it is better.
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Wiki

Genres and genders collide in this unusual mix of Christian soap opera and raunchy cross-dressing comedy. Tyler Perry adapts his own play--one of a series wherein he personally portrays Grandma Madea, an overweight, no-nonsense, old, Christian, African-American woman. In DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, the main character is Helen (Kimberly Elise), whose wealthy, abusive husband Charles (Steve Harris) kicks her out of their mansion after 18 years of marriage. Luckily Grandma Madea is there to offer some tough love. When a gangster's bullet later makes Charles a cripple, Helen has to decide between love (i.e. wreaking Madea-sanctioned old testament vengeance) and Christian duty. The movie then progresses in two directions: the well-acted dramatic side, with Helen getting her life together thanks to the love of the dreamy Orlando (YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS star Shemar Moore) and her hospitalized momma (Cecily Tyson); and the go-for-broke humor side, with Harris whooping it up in unfettered glee as the chainsaw-wie...
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