My friend Mego and I were so excited to see Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (I am STILL flabbergasted that that is an actual title) that we made each other promise not to see it without one another. I own up to it. How could this not be a melodramatic instant classic? A descendant of Showgirls, if you will. Here's the trailer again just to refresh your memory.
Since I know all twelve of my readers aren't going to see TPT:CoaMC, I will spoil the hell out of it for you! Hooray!!!
The movie opens with a young couple in a counseling session. The counselor looks like a younger version of Madea if Tyler Perry realistically wanted to be a transgendered female. Just throwing that out there. The husband storms out because he doesn't understand why his wife is acting so different lately, and, after he leaves, the wife explains that they've been together since they were eighteen and she's simply not the same woman anymore. The counselor smiles sagely. "Let me tell you a story about my sister," she says. Oooohhh! This is going to be a flashback film! I wonder what this marriage counselor is going to share with us? Is she going to "confess" something, as the title suggests?! Damn you, Tyler Perry!
We meet Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and her husband Brice (Lance Gross), a happy couple who have been insperable since they were early teens. Judith had a strict upbringing with her religious mother, and she's always been a good girl. Now, let me point out that Judith doesn't have a sister. Already Mr. Perry has told us that the marriage counselor from the beginning is indeed Judith. Come on, Perry! Get your head in the game here.
Judith works at a match-making company run by Janice (Vanessa Williams, always good to see you) until Judith establishes herself as a marriage counselor. Brice, a pharmacist, tells her that it will take some time, but he is sure that she will succeed. Since Judith doesn't want to work at this company, she has a stankface pretty much the entire first half hour of the movie. Wah wah! By the way, Vanessa Williams has a French accent. Yup. French. One day while complaining about something and sustaining her stankface, Janice introduces Judith to Harley (Robbie Jones), a social media mogul. We don't ever learn what this company is, so don't hold your breath. I don't know what it is either, but I wish I could tell you. I'm sure an original Tyler Perry social media site would be hilarious.
Long story short, Harley wants to invest in Judith's company (shrug), and the two of them spend a lot of long nights at her office. Doing what? I don't know. The dialogue is so generic that I couldn't tell you a thing that happened in one casual scene. Harley isn't the subtlest person. After spending about twenty minutes with Judith, he comes right out and tells her he wants to bang her. She's so flustered since Harley shows her any kind of attention (Brice forgets her birthday for the second consecutive year). Oh my goodness! Could this be...temptation...
Harley is not a bad looking guy, but maybe Judith doesn't realize how hot her husband really is. We do learn that Judith and Brice have sex, but it's apparently very vanilla and infrequent. It takes two to tango, Judith! Even though Harley is "the largest social media inventor since Zuckerberg," I am pretty sure Judith doesn't know what her husband looks like shirtless. Harley looks like a grown-up version of the little kid from Role Models, if he succeeded in his aspirations to be a bobblehead.
Yup, that's Brice. If Judith wants to cheat on him, that's fine. Throw him back,
stupid bitch Judith. This movie has lost ALL of its credibility!!!
Anyway! Judith is seduced by Harley, and then the movie takes an incredibly dramatic turn, as most of Tyler Perry's movies do. Harley bangs Judith on a private plane...Harley bangs Judith in a hot tub (with so many candles, it puts a White Snake video to shame)...Harley bangs Judith in the back of a car. These sex scenes are about as sexy as a D. A. R. E. video. I was hoping for something campier. Perhaps some slow-motion or a saxophone solo? I've seen better depictions of sex in an episode of Boy Meets World.
One of the stranger subplots of the movie involves Brandy "The Boy Is Mine" Norwood working at Brice's pharmacy. She is introduced near the beginning of the film in an interview with Brice and his co-worker played by...wait for it...wait for it...SYLVIA FINE FROM THE NANNY!!! Why did NO ONE let me know that Fran Drescher's mother was in a Tyler Perry movie?! By the way, I would watch a sitcom with these three. The hot, black pharmacist, a sassy faded pop star, and the over-eating, Jewish owner who meddles in everyone's lives. Why isn't this on TV Land?! Is this on TV Land?
I am getting carried away. Brandy seems to be guarding a secret, and there is a scene early in the movie where she leaves the pharmacy with her hood up. When she gets home, she sneaks around carefully, and she grabs a baseball bat while going through her house. Way to keep me in suspense, Perry! This movie is so layered!
Brice, meanwhile, sees Harley dropping off his wife several times, and, for some reason, never really questions her about it. This good guy is kind of a dope. A hot, trusting dope. Judith begins dressing sexier and changes her hair (I wasn't convinced), and whenever Brice tries to talk to her, Judith is cold and unresponsive. Probably like their sex life. Harley introduces Judith to drugs (I thiiiink...it's not very clear...she either snorted coke or a strawberry while eating in the above scene), and she kind of becomes a grade-A bitch. Judith's holier-than-thou mother, Sarah (Ella Joyce), turns up, and provides the audience with all the religion jibber jabber that has been surprisingly absent thus far for a TP flick.
Brice finds Judith pretty messed up at a club, laying on a couch next to a shirtless Harley and Brice takes her outside. She tells him that Brice is a good man...but she's looking for a "phenomenal" man. Ouch. Brice leaves her there with Harley and gets in his truck, slamming the door so hard that the window shatter. I've had many dramatic exits, so I know the breaking of a car window is particularly unbelievable.
Since Judith and Harley are snorting coke (or fruit) and drinking all the time, they start fighting. Let the heavy handedness begin!!! When they quibble over something stupid after getting home from the club, Harley beats Judith across the face. Cut to Brice hanging out with Brandy as she comforts him after his fight with Judith. You expect this hot pharmacist to write a prescription for getting his own piece of ass, but when he gently leans in for a kiss, she backs away, telling him, "We're not attracted to each other." Brice can't get any lovin'! I mean, come on, Brandy, the poor guy was just dumped. I think a least a handsy is in order. Am I right? Brandy then later tells Brice (very suddently) that she is HIV positive. WHAAAAAAT!?!??! I literally leaned forward with my arms outstretched and said this. As they talk about her condition, she casually mentions that she tries not to think of her ex-husband, Harley. WHAAAAAAAT?! My hands were not outstretched on this one, because I saw that coming in the opening credits.
Brice drives to Harley's house and breaks down the door. Harley is passed out, and he finds Judith beaten up on the couch. He carries out of the room, but comes back for the "you-fucked-my-wife-and-now-I'll-kill-you" smackdown!!! A few punches are thrown and Brice tackles Harley through a glass wall. I've seen better. Brice then takes his wife home.
You're just going to have to clean that up...
The movie cuts back to the initial counseling session, and the woman asks if Judith got HIV as well. The counselor sagely nods. The aoman then asks if Brice also contracted the disease, and the counselor shakes her head. Realizing the grass isn't always greener (the phrase "I'm going to end my almost affair" is actually uttered), the woman thanks her and chases after her husband. When the counselor leaves, she heads to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. Wait...this pharmacy looks familiar...isn't that Brandy? The pharmacist turns around and is revealed to be an older Brice. She takes her prescription (AZT!), and leaves as Brice's new wife comes in with their little girl. Judith looks on for a moment, and leaves acknowledging that she gave up a hot man who loved her for some subpar Red Shoe Diaries sex with a bobblehead.
I would like to briefly point out that Kim Kardashian was even more wretched than one would imagine. She can't land a joke to save her life. Granted, she isn't working with anything good here, but in this exchange she let all the obvious jokes miss like jokes about her 72-hour marriage.
Judith: "I like this fabric. What is it?"
Kimmy K: "...expensive..."
Also, does Tyler Perry only cast singers in his movies so they can contract HIV? Janet Jackson got it in For Colored Girls, and now Brandy has it in this. His next non-Madea movie, Single Moms Club, is slated for 2014. No singers have joined the cast yet. Does syphilis get its chance to shine?
What did we learn while watching Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor? Don't cheat, because if you cheat...you will get HIV. And a bad movie to dramatize your infidelity.