Tyler Perry's Temptation Review: A Mess of a Morality Tale

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Oh, Tyler Perry's Temptation, where to begin? You were written in a single night, right? On Red Bulls and Adderall? Or during a fever dream with not just a Telenovela, but the worst Telenovela - whatever that would be - playing on double-speed in the background?

Please tell me I’m getting close.

Temptation Poster

That Temptation was made is confounding. That it was made by one of the most successful and recognizable filmmakers alive is terrifying.

Written with the sophistication of a Madlib, with the subtlety of a child throwing a tantrum at a strip-mall A&W ("but I want a large!!!"), Temptation is your least favorite Media Studies classmate’s student film at best.

Tyler Perry’s actors seem to be playing to an imaginary live audience. They face out toward the fourth wall, they speak broad, expository dialogue, and every giggle, scoff, and sigh is played grandly to the back of the theater.

Temptation tells the story of Judith, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, an aspiring marriage counselor, married to her childhood sweetheart Brice (Lance Gross), but stuck working for high-powered match maker Janice (Vanessa Williams with an insane French accent).

Vanessa Williams Kim Kardashian in Temptation

Brice, for his part, is an extremely handsome and caring man whose big flaw is that his “dream job,” as the voiceover tells it, is to work at a pharmacy (that’s it Brice, aim for the stars). Which is why the couple moves from the rural South to DC, the pharmacy capital of the world!

When a smashingly handsome social media mogul with a jaw-line that could cut a better film named Harley (Robbie Jones) comes to Janice for help developing a matchmaking app, he is instantly taken with Judith.

The next hour of the film is spent with charming-if-blunt Harley courting the hopelessly dull and even more hopelessly disinterested Judith, despite knowing very well that she’s married. So we’re not rooting for him. Check.

That’s when the bluntest bit of filmmaking you may ever see is levied: a series of direct comparisons between the two men. We find out that Judith wants a protector, and shortly thereafter we see Brice acting completely rationally by simply ignoring a group of guys that cat-calls Judith. But Judith doesn’t like that, because that’s not protector-y.

But then, while on a jog with Harley, she accidentally collides with a cyclist. So Harley picks the cyclist up by the scruff, screams at him, and threatens to kick his cyclin' ass. Yay! Protector!

But despite his apparent insane temper, Harley is essentially a nice guy, until he just isn’t anymore. After he finally seduces by taking her on a private plane and talking a lot about his ex-girlfriend, the first of three switches flips: Harley, the charming guy with the jaw and the millions of dollars, is now, ever so suddenly, a crazed maniac with a harem of hoes and a severe drug addiction.

Whoops!

Temptation Jurnee Smollett-Bell Robbie Jones Still

Switch #2 flips shortly thereafter, and with no real sense of time, motivation, consequence, character, or any of that boring filmy crap: Judith sucks too! Now she’s a crazed maniac with a severe drug addiction—and she’s one of the hoes! So we’re 2/3 of the way through the film, and we learn we’re not rooting for her. Check.

Okay, so we must be rooting for Brice, right? Handsome guy. His dream totally sucks but that’s okay, at least he’s nice. And he loves his wife. Well, enter switch three: Brice is a royal jerk. All he wants to do now is watch football. His wife leaves at night, doesn't return until the next afternoon, and he doesn’t even notice or care.

So we’re definitely not rooting for him. Check.

If we’re not rooting for any of the three main characters, what are we rooting for? Turns out we’re rooting for a small, harmless grease fire to erupt in the lobby of the theater so they stop the film, escort everyone out, and refund us our money.

Lance Gross Brandy Norwood Temptation Still

Oh yeah, there’s also some Christian stuff, some HIV stuff, some Kim Kardashian yelling about clothes stuff, some Crazy Old White Lady stuff, some Brandy with Battered Woman Syndrome stuff, and a lot of other ridiculous stuff. And then there's the whole insane notion that Judith, the least equipped person to give anyone marriage advice, still wants to be a marriage counselor.

In the end, Temptation is a morality tale of the worst kind: One whose plot and characters are clumsily contorted to serve the moral. And worse, one whose moral is heavy-handed, affected, and insultingly simple. If you’re looking for a “don’t cheat” or “don’t do drugs” message, I’d suggest watching a 1980’s Health Class video instead of Temptation. It’ll be a lot shorter, and a lot less painful.

RATING: -0/5

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Tyler Perry's Temptation Review: A Mess of a Morality Tale
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It sucked. We didn't have to think too hard to get the plot a tenth of the way into the film. We knew Brandy was going to end up with Mr. Awesome Husband, we knew somehow after Mr. Cheat-man was done seducing Mrs. Cheat-face he was going to become a total asshole, and we knew some life threatening consequence was going to happen to Mrs. Cheat-face because she becomes this dark-looking, loose, drunk direspecful character right after Mr. Cheat-Face stuck his penis into her. If anything, I "learned" according to Tyler Perry Morals: don't cheat on rich hot dudes, or else you'll turn into direspecful jerk, loose your husband, upset the church, get beaten by a maniac, loose your job, then die of HIV. Praise the lowd!!! Oh, and if you're the cheatee, you'll end up with a attractive singer from the 90s. YOU WON'T GO INTO A DEPRESSION, you'll end up with your wife's paramour's abused ex-girlfriend who will convieniantly work with you at your job (BECAUSE THAT TOTALLY HAPPENS ALL THE TIME). Spoiler alert: throughout the movie, Mrs. Cheat-face (a marriage councilor) is actually talking about her life to a woman who's cheating on her husband. The last words of the movie was the woman saying "OMG! If I cheat, I'll get HIV and die? Oh my! I must end this godless affair and go to my husband!" Yep. It's one of those films, folks.

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kim kardashian shouldn't be their at all stick to making sex tapes cause thats the only thing yuh good at

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The mivie was awful, the ending terrible. Please don't pay to see it. It is bad.

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Tyler Perry's Temptation The movie has an interesting plot twist at the end of the movie. But to get there you have to suffer through 90 minutes of slow boring dialog and mediocre acting that tries as hard as it can to put you to sleep. Then Tyler Perry tries to come up with a chain of events to get the characters to the ending he wants but he lacks the talent and creativity to write a plausible scenario that leads them there, so he injects some ridiculous unbelievable coincidence to put the characters there.

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YES it SUCKED! One of the worst movies I've ever seen! Such a disappointment - I want my money back.
Such talented actors but no where to go, awkward, cheesy dialogue and plot. Beautiful looking film but empty and hollow throughout. stink message....out dated

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Just horrible...There are so many mixed messages such as you can't want more and better and if you do you will end up punished (Judith being sick) but you can be a a loving, small minded and forgetful jerk like Brice who get rewarded at the end with a family. SMH. Tyler Perry clearly has issues with women...I just can't see past that with his depiction of women in almost all of his movies. SAD.

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doesn't this temptation movie have the same story line with the marriage counselor 2008. well noticed tyler's movies have the same story line with some little stupid unnecessary "Mr Brown" jokes. c'mon T you sure can do a lot better than that. in case you never hard "don't tell a joke twice" it becomes lame. Be more creative.... is that too much to ask?

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Good job on this review; very entertaining! About 10x more entertaining than the movie, in fact. I am surprised though that you didn't comment on the horrendous attempt at line delivery that Kim Kardashian seems to think qualifies as acting, but then again, perhaps if we ignore her, she'll eventually go away.

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Just horrible. Completely unrealistic. Utterly flat and boring characters. Random hanging lines that could've yielded some depth but of course, they were left lingering in the air like a damp, acrid sock (ie. "dad is alive and I found him" and "just because you mother was a crack whore" - really TP where were you going with this and why didn't you get there?). Unrealistic outcomes - (1) the whole progression of the adulterous 'relationship' was not only rushed but left the viewer with a "really though?!" expression, (2) Judith, the unhappy wife who makes a series of passionate, yet stupid, decisions ends up a miserable, sick and lonely older woman limping off in the final scene, while Brice, the unsupportive "wait 10 years for your dream, I'm just gonna repeatedly forget that totally meaningless day that you were born because who really cares, you just left the house at 9pm without telling me and didn't return until the morning but I didn't even notice or ask any questions " husband, gets to live happily ever after. Then there's the ridiculous compilation of climatic moments that aren't really climaxes at all because you saw most of them coming 15 minutes into the movie and those that you didn't see coming are so insanely extra that it seems less like a lesson learned or a rain cloud and more like the gaping hole of the stormy heavens has opened up and swallowed the characters whole (enter the "really though?!?!" face). Brandy Norwood completely extraneous character whose only real contribution came towards the end of the movie with some of her lines that really did put some major life lessons into perspective (ie. "she's wrong for what she's doing but people change"). The snooze-worthy cyclical events and interconnected-ness of the characters stories which again, any apt viewer could probably see from a mile away.
With all of that said, it didn't seem like the performances were lacking in particular (if anything the actors seemed to play their parts exactly how they were intended and any lackluster should probably be attributed to the actors probable boredom with the non-existent robustness of their characters and the storyline). I would even dare to say that the "moral of the story" isn't too bad: an unhappy marriage is one thing, get out if you can't work it out, but know that, as cliche as it is, "the grass isn't always greener". The fault of this movie is in it's lack of development, insanely unbelievable plot (or lack thereof), character underdevelopment, inexcusable jumps in time and space, and for it's almost "throw it all against the wall and hope something sticks" methodology -- basically in its lack of what makes a movie, well, a movie.