Contrary to most movie reviews I do, I am clearly not the target demographic for this film. I saw the preview and I literally laughed because of how bad it looked, so I went into this movie with really low expectations (and I was hoping that it surprised me).
So did the movie surprise me? Or was my initial reaction right on?
We follow five single moms who all have kids who have been caught at their school doing some sort of bad thing. Well, the principal decides to sanction the five moms to coordinate some sort of fundraiser. So they all have to become friends and in their meetings, they decide to form the Single Moms Club, where they can find support. As the five women, we have Nia Long, Amy Smart, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Zulay Henao, and Cocoa Brown. They each find some sort of romance, in addition to coming to grips with how to raise their children. It’s a Tyler Perry film so it has a certain amount of predictability.
I appreciate the sentiment of this movie, as it’s trying to show us the struggles that a lot of women face in an interesting way. I do believe that single parents face struggles that we often don’t acknowledge (or understand) but I don’t believe this movie conveyed it in the most positive way. I did get a little teary-eyed towards the end, but it was a cheap punch that the movie didn’t earn.
So here we go.
What doesn’t work?
I believe this movie might be more harmful than helpful. Now, I’m not a single parent, but as an outsider, I learned a strange lesson from this movie. If you’re a single mom, just find a guy and he’ll fix everything. That is a horrible lesson here. I was expecting to find a story of five women finding strength in each other. But instead, literally each woman finds strength in the man. They come together because they’re planning this fundraiser but they literally get men to do the entire thing. In the end, is that the message that Tyler Perry hoped to create? Maybe he wasn’t the best person to write a story about single moms? In the movie he plays a single dad, but he seems to have an easy time of it. So this movie is also teaching us that it’s somehow easier to be a single dad than a single mom? Or men can handle it better? It’s a horrible premise and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth as the credits rolled.
The movie is also really heavy-handed. Each parent struggles throughout the entire thing and their kids are absolute monsters. It’s like Perry is trying to say “Look how tough it is” by creating absolutely horrible scenarios and then the boys come in and save the day. It’s very strange.
As a comedy, it failed in a lot of aspects as well. I laughed in a few spots but mostly out of sheer ridiculousness. Bloopers rolled during the credits and they were painful to watch. I don’t blame the actors but the writing was just subpar and didn’t give them anything to work with. The ladies I went with laughed much more than I did, so (again) I may not be the target demographic.
In general, it was flat. Nia Long, Amy Smart, and Wendi McLendon-Covey were the most natural of the five, whereas Zulay Henao and Cocoa Brown seemed to struggle. Henao was the weakest link and it felt like Perry was trying to shoehorn in a multicultural element. She had a few scenes in Spanish but didn’t include subtitles, and I’m not sure what that intention was. Cocoa Brown was funny but it felt like it was written for Octavia Spencer (The Help) and they just couldn’t get her.
Don’t see this. Some of you might think it’s funny… but the message is heavy-handed and ends up reinforcing that women need men to get things done, which sounds counter intuitive to the movie’s purpose. I didn’t think it was that funny and I’m only giving it a higher score because it did manage to get my heartstrings towards the end, but the movie didn’t earn that because the rest of the film was a mess of horribly written dialogue, over exaggerated archetypes, and plot points of convenience.