Time heals the heart. Faith heals the rest.
Running Time: 116 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a
Country: United States
Meet Helen (Kimberly Elise). In Diary of a Mad Black Woman, shes the mad black woman of the title and thats mad as in angry, as opposed to loopy. But fear not, nut-house fans, for both sides of the madness coin are catered for in this bizarre movie. Helens Grandma Madea, you see, is as barking as they come. Shes played by Tyler Perry in a gender-bending piece of self-casting, and as the writer of both this movie and the series of gospel plays its based on hes the one who has to be held ultimately responsible for the gigantic clusterfuck that this whole thing is.
Its about a naive and down-trodden housewife (thats our Helen) whos been spending the last 18 years living in ignorant heaven with high-flying attorney hubby Charles (Steve Harris). And ol Charlie might be one of the best in the business when it comes to working a courtroom, but it soon transpires that hes also a real git, whos secretly fathered two kiddies with floozy Brenda (Lisa Marcos) and plans to move her into his swanky marital home without even bothering to tell poor Hellsy-Wellsy first.
So, having ended up out on her ear, the sweet little wouldnt-hurt-a-fly-if-it-called-her-nasty-names Helen ends up on the doorstep of bustling beast-lady Madea, who convinces her to hit the revenge trail culminating in a recreation of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only using furniture in place of people.
There seems to be a mish-mash of at least four separate movie ideas going on here. Theres the Sleeping With The Enemy-style tale of how Helen tears herself away from her rotten other half to find happiness with the sickeningly nice Orlando (Shemar Moore, of Young and the Restless fame). Theres the woefully-underdeveloped sub-plot involving Charles dirty-dealings with some form of ghetto gangsta. Theres the What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?/Misery route that it briefly takes when Chuck finds himself in a wheelchair and Helen uncharacteristically seizes her chance to get her own back. And, on top of all that, theres the whole Madea thing, which feels like its been lifted straight out of a Martin Lawrence vehicle and never comes even close to sitting properly with the rest of the material. Sometimes, such diversity of plot would be welcomed as a rich tapestry of story-telling, but here it just feels like a jumbled, ill-thought-out mess.
Thats not to say the film doesnt have its good points. Elise does herself proud in a role which must have been extremely difficult to get to grips with given how heavily-laden it is with inconsistencies, and you cant fault pensmith Perry for effort. Sadly though, the movie still fails. Many of the attempts at humour sit uncomfortably with the subject matter (and thats coming from someone whos normally a big fan of dark comedy), and the last-ditch addition of some Christian what-not makes for a poor attempt at winding the whole thing up with some sort of tenuous moral lesson.
It's Got: Perry playing three separate roles, when youd struggle to justify the presence of even one of them.
It Needs: To pick its strongest thread and go with it, instead of throwing in so much superfluous pap.
Alternatives:Sleeping With The Enemy
Dear Diary, I saw a movie today, and it wasnt very good. Thats all for today!