Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: +1

Alfre Woodard, Sanaa Lathan, Rockmond Dunbar, KaDee Strickland, Cole Hauser, Taraji P. Henson, Robin Givens, Tyler Perry, Kathy Bates. Comedy/drama. Written & directed by Tyler Perry.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Kathy Bates (Misery) and Alfre Woodard (Cross Creek) star as the matriarchs of two very different families being torn apart by greed and scandal. The sixth feature film by Perry chronicles the inner workings of two familiesone upper-crust and the other working-class that become inextricably linked by scandal.

While paternity secrets, marital infidelity, greed and unsavory business dealings threaten to derail both families, Charlotte (Bates) and Alice (Woodard) decide to take a breather from it all by making a cross-country road trip in which they rediscover themselves and possibly find a way to save their families from ruin.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Tyler Perry doesn't allow press screenings, hence the reason why this review is a week late. It's a frustration for me as Mr. Perry is one of the few filmmakers who injects some spirituality into his films. He's not afraid to show a character pray or show people attending church services. Of course, he never allows such themes to override crude humor, but at least he unapologetically states that we are spiritual beings as well as mental and physical.

Too often, I have been further frustrated by this filmmaker because he thinks he's Charlie Chaplin able to write, produce, direct, and star in each of his films. Though I appreciate his scope, Mr. Perry is no Mr. Chaplin. At least, not yet. If, however, this latest effort by the filmmaker is any sign, he could be improving as an artist and opening up his themes to include a more diverse audience.

Mr. Perry wisely casts Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates, because although we've seen each and every element of this soap opera-ish storyline, these two pros give the production substance and believability. There are several funny moments and a few truly touching ones, mostly because of these two actresses. Alas, far too many scenes seem forced and synthetic.

It's not a great movie, or even a good one. Its just okay. But it gives us hope that some day Tyler Perry will inject his spirituality and flamboyance into a fresh and well-constructed movie that's more drama than ego-tinged melodrama.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: There are a couple of slang terms for sexual activity.

Obscene Language: One obscenity (SOB) and several minor expletives.

Profanity: The expression Oh my God or variations of it are heard three or four times.

Violence: A man hits his adulterous wife, knocking her over a bar; the same man later punches her lover and tries to strangle him until others pull him off a main character commits suicide by purposely taking an overdose of medications; there is a great deal of family tension.

Sex: Two people commit adultery, but ultimately pay a price; we see male strippers bare their chests in a club; a few suggestive sexual remarks; nothing explicit.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Kathy Bates character drinks; we see her get drunk; several people are seen drinking; a few scenes take place in bars, including one featuring male strippers.

Other: None

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens and Above

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