No witty preface, let's get straight to it. For Colored Girls was a trainwreck. One hundred twenty minutes of facepalming. Even though it was Tyler Perry, I went into the movie with an open mind. I left the movie completely and utterly disappointed and flabbergasted.
It was so terrible that I am having a hard time finding where to start. I have yet to read the choreopoem that the screenplay was adapted from. However, I have heard great things about it. Frankly, Tyler Perry doesn't have enough stamps in his passport to even do this. He has a hard time turning a script into a cohesive film. What in hades made him think he could take such a heavy choreopoem and turn it into anything that wasn't a debacle? #really
The constant transitioning from script to poem was cringe-worthy at times. The poetry was powerful but awkward and forced. It was like night and day going from Perry's awful dialogue to Ntozake Shange's powerful prose. Written in 1975 I believe, some of the poetry just didn't translate well to modern times. Perhaps Perry should have set the movie in the 70s. Couldn't have hurt.
What would a Tyler Perry movie be without over the top negative stereotypes of black men? The downlow man? C'mon Tyler! I thought we were better than that. That kind of character wasn't even needed in this film. The seemingly nice guy who goes from salsa dancing in the street to whippin' out his peaknus and raping one of the women? I know date rape happens and it happens often, but the way Perry handled it really took away from the seriousness of the situation. Even the most "realistic" storyline still had the WTF element. Throw in your obligatory two-timing boyfriend and your set of Triflin' Ass Ninjas is complete. The closest thing to a decent brotha in the film was a somewhat insensitive detective.
Without giving too much away, I will say that the women who did the best job were Loretta Devine and Thandie Newton. I was pleasantly blown away with how great of a job Thandie did. Loretta Devine has always been a favorite actress of mine even though she's been in some films that are questionable at best. Her strong dialogue and human element gave her character some pop. Thandie's complete transformation from prim and proper British woman to emotionally damaged, just wanting to find some kind of love, downtrodden but tries not to show it New Yorker went over much better than one would anticipate (holy run-on sentence Batman!).
There are not enough words to describe how putrid Janet was in this film. Once we get past her looking like Cruella D'eville, lies a dull half-assed performance. Again I say, I have not read the choreopoem so I'm not quite sure how this character was supposed to go. Watching her be this mean cold-hearted biatch was painful. Not because there aren't any cold hearted biatches in the world, hers was just ramped up a few notches and wandered dangerously close to being caricature-ish.
The other actresses did a so-so job considering the material and director they had to work with. Kimberly Elise was good for "weepin' Wanda what is we gon' do now" schtick that she has seemed to have mastered. Phylicia Rashad (my childhood cougar crush) provided stability in moments where the film had clearly jumped the shark. Kerry Washington's character could have been played by a celery stick and the audience wouldn't have noticed. Anika Noni Rose's character really didn't have too much going on which almost made me forget she was in the movie until her character provided the biggest unintentional laugh of the film. Whoopi Goldberg....really? Her character did way too much and not nearly enough.
To wrap this bad boy up.......the movie was horrible. In the hands of just about any other director, I think this film has a fighting chance. Tyler Perry basically Tyler Perry'd up the movie. All that was missing was Madea some light skinnedededed man to come in and rescue one of these damsels in distress. Watching this movie reminded me a lot of Precious. Seems like the whole theme was "how bad can I make these women's lives". Anytime you thought the sun was gonna shine, Perry brought in some storm clouds and let it rain. My only regret is that I do not have another set of thumbs so that I could give this picture 4 thumbs down. Peace.