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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Honeedozit

I went to see the "great Tyler Perry's Temptation" because my sister insisted it was deep, thought provoking and had so many twist I would continue to guess the movie and I'd be wrong. First, I knew that was Smollett telling her story at the beginning of the movie, second the wanna be new lover was not attractive and did not have any charisma to pull a fly from a horse's ass and the movie was weak all around. Sometimes actresses like Ella Joyce who I love should just so no to tired movies. Tyler Perry continues to wow some black people with his same tired movies. I for one am not impressed. Now some may say oh she is a hater and I am going to agree that I am. Here is why, I hate that I keep letting people talk me into watching his mundane, weak, cliché movies. Please people don't get me wrong, I give Perry his props for pulling up his boot straps and climbing the ladder of success. And yes there is a but-but can he obtain some advice from some other great movie writers on how to write with a twist keeping the audience in suspense and moving the movie along without losing half his audience. Just one piece advice to Mr. Perry just because you are friends with Oprah does make everything you touch turn to gold. I give Temptation a 2 on a scale of 1 to ten for an occasional laugh

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it's amazing to me how this movie review is so harsh when the movie has been wildly successful in box office sales. We all know that tyler perry movies are a new spin on old school folk tales. His movies are meant to be very blatant in the point that it is trying to get across because not everyone can understand cryptic underlying messages. If you really thought that you would find some kind of twists and turns in a tyler perry movie then you are an idiot. Clearly his way of presenting moral issues to the public has added many 0s to the end of his bank account. People are so quick to be cruel about something someone has worked very hard on but the major public clearly likes what he is putting out.

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@ A Williams

I agree. I think that he was more thinking on the lines of religion rather than twist. If you look at the cover you have the snake and an apple. Which is pretty much what happened to judith, she was seduced by the snake ate the apple and fell to her slow death. If anyone know Genesis god said not to eat of the fruit lest ye die. The consequence of temptation/sin was death. Eve and Judith had the same fate, they would eventually die. However Judith got the "package" which is what she will deal with for the rest of her life. To say that she is unqualified to offer marital advice is not true. She came from a small town and married her childhood sweetheart. Then she gets a real experience of being in the world with wolves and now has something to offer other couples as she self reflects on her mistakes and counsels other women who have ever been in her shoes. A lot of marriages end because the woman wants the divorce. I wouldn't say it sucked. It was predictable, but it wasn't the worst I've seen.

Stacy-ann-ruth-stoute

This review is true, it is true. I am black and I will be honest, this movie sucked, sucked, sucked. Why Tyler Perry? Why? Don't we deserve a movie with a LITTLE more thought? Thankfully you have your fan base that will love it anyway but I believe you can do much better.

Honeedozit
@ Stacy-Ann Ruth Stoute

Amen!!!!!!!

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so sad...disappointing...a waste of money and time...Tyler Perry...who the hell told you this was good ??

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I'm a Tyler Perry fan but "Temptation" was his worst movie ever. Sorry Tyler Perry.... I thought the movie was sexes.

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its almost blasphemy for a black person to talk bad about a TP movie. being a black man the last couple TP movies have been BAD. Weak tired bland plot and can we say OVER ACTING. so i can understand the bad reviews. THen have you ever notice when there no Madea he always overloads on Stars and sexy ppl. save your money for that netflix subscription

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Please, please do not believe this review.....it is obviously from someone totally out of touch! White Hollywood kills me when it comes to black films...they never get it and they never will if you ask me....usually when they write poor reviews the movies does very well in both the box office and DVD sales...Tyler I loved the movie and so has most of my girlfriends! Ignore these critics....they hold no weight over here!

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@ Brenda

I am glad they are giving bad reviews. This just made up my mind, I am going to see it. As for people who say they are Black and hate the movie, I hope that they know that Black people hate other Black people to and love white people just because they are white. I am going to watch it and will tell my relatives to give it a go.

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@ Brenda

I am a black woman..and totally disagree with you. This movie was bad, and seems like no thought was given to this project. Our community deserves to have quality films just like other communities. I believe that Tyler Perry knows that our community will support him, not matter what...and therefore he is just putting our movie after movie without any thought. I don't think the critics are being racist...I think that card is pulled to divert from the fact that the movie is just bad.

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I thaught Tyler Perry did a great job.... & I tink Kim Kardashian did a awesome job.... & every one else was awesome. ... and beta yet I watched it 2 times already going on my third wun... Mr.Perry has excel as a writer. He is matureing more and more which I think is great as A BLACK AUTHOR, &&'D PRODUCER... WITH SO MANY PRODUCERS IN THE UNITED STATES TO COMPARE TOO... I TINK HE IS EXCELLING AS TIME GOES BY... HATS OFF TO MR. PERRY &&'D THE CREW OF TEMPTATION. ...

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It always takes a predominately white Hollywood to always reject or give negative reviews on a really good black film. Their persistent in their effort to slam black films has always been their objective since black film makers like Tyler Perry and others have come along and create a new era of film & make millions from real life events. They should try the same thing and work hard along side of black film makers & producers who have a great deal to offer besides rejecting their ideas that captivates all audiences of all races. Their kkk mentality distorts their judgment, & sends negative messages across the board each time they try to review any black film. Much love to you TP. Haters never prosper, you'll always be the one of the best film makers of our time & times to come for all races! Hollywood can't take it that you're making the kinda bank other in Hollywood wish they could & people coming out in record numbers with their support.

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I don't agree with the article above. I think the movie was a good one. It show's us how easy it is for a man to come in when one is open and searching for more. This can happen to either male or female. It is a lesson for so many people who continue to fall this way, as well is show's that the grass isn't always green on the other side. I loved the movie even Kim K's role as a fashioneasta. What other role could she play. It was a good movie and I am glad I spent my money on this movie.