Dave's Rating:

0.0

Sinners in the hands of an angry Tyler Perry.

I've decided that Tyler Perry is a kind of mad scientist, a filmmaker hellbent on destroying cinema. His straightforward dramas (aka anything without Madea) are all about pushing buttons. He taunts and goads and provokes and scolds you into obeying his rigid spiritual laws, like the inverse of cranky auteurs Micheal Haneke and Lars von Trier. Obviously, when von Trier destroys the world in Melancholia's final moments, he's probably also saying "good riddance" to it, while Perry's message is ultimately one of worried concern about the audience's salvation. But Perry still ends worlds. His characters, if they could speak outside of his universe, would do nothing but scream in agony as life crushes them in its God-shaped vise of moral consequence.

And that is awesome to watch.

Pity poor Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Eve's Bayou), the steadfastly loving and Christian wife to handsome, earnest pharmacist Brice (Lance Gross), a man who, seemingly, does absolutely nothing wrong except forget her birthday (okay, yes, he forgets it two years running but he's still very nice). That's not why she deserves pity. Pity Judith because she has to work for fake-Washington-D.C.'s version of Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger, played by Vanessa Williams, and endure daily doses of fashion insults from bandage-dress mannequin Kim Kardashian (take that, acting!). Just don't pity this heir to Madame Bovary's misery for her decision to act out T.L.C.'s "Creep" and go out bathtub-sexing the shirtless, rage-aholic Internet billionaire Harley (Robbie Jones). He may be the smooth-talking serpent but she brings it all on herself.

Fast-forward through a dizzying descent into lady-ruin via eroticized materialism, messy hair as a signifier of degradation, no-means-yes sex, domestic violence, forgetting to say grace before meals, late-night booty calls, food-throwing, domination, face-slapping, orgiastic loft parties full of same-sex grinding, weird songs on the soundtrack whose lyrics explain exactly what's going on in the film and a mother (Ella Joyce) who hollers nonstop about Jesus and then asks her daughter, "Why don't we talk anymore?" By the time she's danced her way through all of this, Judith is kookoo for Cocaine Puffs and so is the movie.

I feel like a late-night infomercial for crazy, but I also want you to know that this film features Brandy Norwood as a pharmacy assistant with a brutal secret, one I'd love to share here but I won't. It would ruin the third-act hammer of judgment that obliterates all rational sense and real-life facts about said secret. As a Tyler Perry journey into Hell on Earth, one where total life destruction is just how it goes when you do something bad, it carries on the tradition of Why Did I Get Married, Too?, sex-doom as compulsively entertaining garbage-viewing, the zero-star/five-star rotten movie you have to run right out and pay for a ticket to see immediately. His characters are the ants and he's got the magnifying glass, burning them up one by one. Come to think of it, maybe he is saying "good riddance," after all.

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