Studio Name: Lionsgate
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Disc/Transfer Information: 1080p High Definition Widescreen 1.78:1; Region 1 (U.S.) Release
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Director: Tyler Perry
Starring Cast: Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, Michael Jai White, Tyler Perry
FALLING IN LOVE IS EASY. STAYING IN LOVE IS A WHOLE OTHER STORY.
I must admit, I am normally not one to readily make confessions regarding the enjoyment of films like this, nor indulge – multiple times mind you – in such nonsense that these films, on average, portray. As a reviewer working for multiple online outlets and various publications, I’m normally disturbed, angered and otherwise ready to insert a sharp wooden stake into my editors’ chests when one of these overtly sappy, drama-riddled cryfests lands on my desk for a review – of course, this also happens when the wife picks one of these up to rent whenever the need to subject me to the equivalent of Chinese water torture tickles her. But I have to say – Tyler Perry’s films aren’t half bad, and the first Why Did I Get Married? was actually a well-made, well-acted and well put together piece of modern cinema. The pacing was pretty much spot-on, and there was a great deal of character development which translated to an emotional tension the viewer could feel as we sat through each of the couples’ problems.
And so it wasn’t with much trepidation that I entered watching this sequel and its clever title, as we enjoyed the first film quite a lot – to recap, the first part of Tyler Perry’s story had a group of friends living the good life with respectable, professional jobs and whom got together once a year in the mountains of Colorado (this was a bit far-fetched to say the least though in terms of setting this in the "ozarks" of Colorado) for their “Why Did I Get Married?” gathering; once together the young couples share stories of their marriage issues and so forth, but there were engaging stories within each of the characters in the plot, and this made the film itself very engaging to watch, indeed. Standout performances came from Janet Jackson and Michael Jai White (who played, shockingly realistically, Mike Tyson in HBO’s film about the boxer in the mid-1990s), but the entire cast shined as a whole. The premise of the first film was that the heavier-set wife of the bunch was married to a jerk of a husband who pushed her around and gave her a hard time with her weight and all; this woman stands up and refuses to take the emotional abuse any longer, leading to her meeting the African-American sheriff of the Colorado town they’re visiting (another big stretch) and ultimately they fall for each other, the sheriff vowing to be everything this woman’s abusive husband wasn’t for her.
Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? kind of picks up from that point, as the group of friends are once again getting together for their routine “Why Did I Get Married” trip – this time in the lovely Bahamas, where the group of couples have pieces of a timeshare property. It seems the same kinds of problems are plaguing the same couples here – notably Michael Jai White’s wife, who is a complete and utter pain in the rear every moment he’s in her sight. The biggest shocker comes when the group gets to the Bahamas, and our “heroine” from the first film and her new sheriff husband get shocked to learn that her ex has arrived at the timeshare, because he has every right to be there as well. This of course sets off a tension between the group, as the sheriff husband doesn’t like the ex for what he did to his new wife (who has shed quite a few pounds since the first film, but still ain’t no Lexus Locklear) and the wife can’t stand the sight of this ex since moving on. To make matters worse, the ex misses her and wants her to come back into his life. This causes vicious altercations between the two men that eventually leads to a physical incident once the couples get home from their trip.
In this sequel, each couple begins to go through varying issues, and Perry explores these with a creepy, almost disturbing pace that makes you feel like you just need a shower at the end of this; Janet Jackson’s performance in particular is very haunting, as her therapist character goes through a nervous breakdown after she and her husband make an announcement in the Bahamas that they’re getting a divorce – the husband takes to a drinking binge, and in one nasty fight sequence between the two of them lashes out at Jackson with a viciousness that encompasses blaming her for their son’s death and ultimately leads to his burning of their baby pictures. From that point on, Jackson becomes a complete basket case, showing up to the husband’s office for his birthday, screaming like a mad banshee through their house, pulling her hair out, sobbing uncontrollably to her friends…Jackson’s performance here is truly frightening, and you’re left feeling like you really would never want to experience what her character is going through. Her emotions come to such a boiling point, she attacks the husband at his office during the birthday strip-o-gram hoax (after destroying everything in their house by smashing mostly expensive glass items into bits with a golf club), driving the husband out of the office and mad with insanity, and leading to a very unfortunate culmination that you’ll never see coming.
Inbetween, Michael Jai White’s marital situation is a bit on the light hearted and comedic side, as it was in the first film, even though his wife is a crazed, foul-mouthed maniac that can’t help bring him down in public by shouting every insult known to man at him. Her mission this time around? Get White’s cell phone password so she can see if he’s cheating on her – she even storms the set of his job as a sports show commentator while they’re live on the air to scream accusations about her husband and an alleged cheating situation. While the sequence is funny, it was unrealistic. The remainder of the film, from this couple’s perspective, revolves around her trying anything she can to get his cell password – even during a romantic escapade.
Meanwhile, Tyler Perry and his wife are going through their own issues, as he suspects her of cheating on him, which turns out to be true. Perry is devastated and doesn’t think he can forgive her. The action shifts from the Bahamas back to the couples’ everyday lives when they return, and all the problems each of them were having culminate and explode once they get home – the aforementioned Janet Jackson sequences where she loses her sanity and the husband goes on a drinking rampage, Michael Jai White’s wife’s obsession with his cell phone, Perry’s chilling confirmation sequence when he discovers the wife is really doing him dirty…but as I said, at the end, this narrative really leaves you almost breathless and needing to “wash the experience off you.” It’s difficult to explain – but Perry’s compelling storytelling and tactile usage of tension really makes for an interesting albeit disturbing ride.
VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC LOOK?
Filling my particular screen sans letterboxing with its 1.78:1 transfer, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? exhibited a gorgeous, nearly flawless presentation – hats off to Lionsgate here. Even on my outdated, severely-lacking-in-the-looking-out-a-window-effect as the best LCDs have rear projection display, this was one awesome looking transfer – from the very start, the image was loaded with clean, crisp, noise and grain-free elements, rendering the outdoor Bahamas sequences just jaw-dropping to look at. While my Sony SXRD suffers from what I like to call the “flat, filmlike look” (which many people bought this display specifically for, albeit in 1080p), this Blu-ray floored me.
From the tropical colors of the Bahamas oceans to the detail in the sand during the beach scenes, and from the close-ups of the characters that yielded unbelievable clarity in showing every ripped muscle and skin blemish to the realistic color representation across the board, Why Did I Get Married Too? looked fantastic. I just wish I could have viewed this on a modern-day LCD with a 240 or 120Hz refresh system (or perhaps on a new Sony LCD with the MotionFlow cranked up) as this would have been turned up 10 notches and made for an even more eye-opening experience.
AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC SOUND?
Again, we have a new Blu-ray release in DTS-HD Master Audio as opposed to an uncompressed PCM or Dolby TrueHD track, but no matter…the audio was nowhere near as stellar as the video transfer was. I suppose acceptable for the subject matter, the Master Audio mix here was flat and uninvolving; dialogue sounded “remixed” and “distant” as if it were recorded and added into the mix as an afterthought. There were no real surround moments to speak of, save for a sequence involving fireworks on the beach in the Bahamas and which also featured a quick performance by an aging Louis Gossett, Jr. – during this scene, the firecracker bursts made their way very subtly into the surround channels, making for an effective creation of realistic space. But this was far from “tactile” or aggressive; further, I noticed a bit of a disappointing lack of front stage spread as most of the score and primary action came only from the center channel position.
The audio could have been better, in a nutshell.
“Girl Talk: The Women of Married “ Featurette; “Male Bonding: The Men of Married” Featurette; Janet Jackson’s “Nothing” Music Video; Couples Character Guide
SUMMARY & RECOMMENDATIONS:
A couple of things aside – such as Jackson looking really “off” and bloated or sick in this and a subplot involving the heavy-set wife’s connection to the ex husband when she discovers he has cancer – this was a good rental. For those of you expecting Perry’s off-the-wall shenanigans of his dress-up-in-disguises gags from his comedies, keep looking, as this isn’t the same Tyler Perry. There are serious, very emotional themes being explored here, and the pacing Perry creates within the characters and the turmoil they face is disturbingly real.
Thank you for reading – up next I’ll be reviewing the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street and Prince of Persia, so keep an eye peeled!