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Movie Review

Tyler Perry’s Meet The Browns

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for drug content, language including sexual references, thematic elements and brief violence

Reviewed by: Mia J. Best
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Comedy Drama
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2008
USA Release:
March 21, 2008 (wide)
DVD release: July 1, 2008
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Copyright, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate

Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer

Hope

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers
Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
Featuring: Sofía Vergara, Tyler Perry, Angela Bassett, Rick Fox, Jenifer Lewis, Lance Gross, Lamman Rucker, Margaret Avery, Irma P. Hall, Tamela J. Mann, David Mann, Chloe Bailey, Giota Trakas, Mariana Tolbert, Shawn Shepard, Grace Baine, Roy McCrerey, James Pusztay, Kristopher Lofton, Ricardo Finnis, Tim Blanchard, David Dino Wells Jr., Mark D. Headen, Ayanna Fullilove, Brandi Mitchell, Phil Ridarelli, Henry Sandifer, Leif Christian Andersen, Ondie Daniel, Kent Igleheart, Joe Sinopoli, Chandler George Brown
Director: Tyler Perry
Producer: Roger M. Bobb, Reuben Cannon, Michael Paseornek, Tyler Perry
Distributor: Lionsgate

“Faith gave her hope. Fate gave her family.”

“Meet the Browns” could also be accurately called “Meet the Broadly Stereotyped, Ignorant and Cartoon-like Southern Black Buffoons.” Tyler Perry fails to refine the script of this movie, based on one of his popular plays of the same name, and takes us back in time with some of his minstrel-style characters.

Angela Basset plays Brenda, a mother of three children from three different fathers, who is struggling to make ends meet. Bassett is no stranger to portraying the careworn and abused woman with the right amount of vulnerability and determination. But her talent is wasted on a thin script and a weak co-star, Rick Fox as HENRY, her love interest, offers little more than a chiseled chin and broad smile.

The film jumps abruptly from scene to scene and seems to be missing some key transitions. For example, Brenda and her best friend Cheryl, a saucy Latino with a tendency toward violence, are walking on the street in Chicago talking about the possibility of Brenda going to Georgia to her father’s funeral. Cheryl exclaims, “Look there’s the bus!” The next scene is of a bus dropping off Brenda with her children in Georgia.

Perry’s productions have a knack for both uniting and dividing Christian audiences. Most of his plays and films are loosely based on Christian themes and include a strong Christian character to lend a moral voice to the story—and that is refreshing to Christian audiences. The divide often comes with his stereotypical characters and the raunchiness of some of his content.

“Meet the Browns”’s Christian message is like an aside and used in a formulaic way, almost like a commercial break and not essential to plot development. Although the story of a struggling single mother of an unsavory background could easily be paralleled with Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well who had five husbands (John 4:7-27), to demonstrate the love of God, Perry keeps his Christian message light, using familiar phrases like “If you feel like you are about to break, that’s when God will give you your breakthrough.”

Rather than use the potentially rich story line to truly inspire, Perry seems to force the dramatic scenes and relies on sexual innuendo and stereotypes for much of the attempted comedy. Madea, Perry’s famous gun toting, marijuana smoking, cussing matriarch makes a cameo in a ridiculous scene where she and her brother Joe (also played by Perry) are trying to outrun the cops in a highway chase.

As much as Perry’s success has opened doors in Hollywood to develop stories that are meaningful to both African American and Christian audiences, it has also defined and solidified several negative stereotypical images of both those groups. In “Meet the Browns,” for example, Mr. Brown is a deacon who wears a toupee at his father’s funeral and interrupts the minister so he can grab the spotlight, ramble nonsensically about his father and a multitude of unrelated things for hours. When so much time is spent making fun of people in the Church, any Christian representation in the film becomes more cliché than heartfelt.

“Meet the Browns” is quite a departure from Perry’s last release “Why Did I Get Married?” which was number-one at the box office and managed better balance, taking both a humorous and a serious look into the challenges that many married couples face.

I do not recommend this movie for the buffoon portrayal of Christians, the sexual innuendo, profanity and poor filmmaking quality.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I highly recommend seeing this movie! The plot is true to life and would be beneficial for people to see—a poor single-mother trying to raise 3 kids, with the lure of selling drugs to survive, the pain of a deadbeat dad, and wondering where the next meal will come from. Yes, poverty like this (worse than this) exists today in America, and we'd do well to be aware of that. Even though this family has it rough, the love seen in this struggling family (especially between the mother and son) will warm your heart and bring you to tears.

One thing I appreciate about the characters in this movie is that they are balanced—these are not perfect people at all. But I'm grateful for that. And I have to give Tyler Perry props for showing both intelligent, strong women, and loving, noble men. And the romance is sweet and shown to be born out of actual love, not lust.

Finally, Christian themes run through-out this movie. Growing because of the storms of life, not losing faith and other such themes can be seen. To be honest, some lines brought tears to my eyes—I myself am going through a rough time, and hearing these words of faith and hope was like a kiss from God.

With all that said, there are some objectionable things—there's some cursing (da**'s, and he**'s—I don't remember anything beside that), and there's one scene that repeatedly uses the word h*e—many found it funny, I found it tasteless. But these objections are small in the scheme of the movie overall.

This is a feel-good movie worth seeing. It's sure to make you laugh, cry, feel plenty warm-fuzzies and even be strengthened in your faith! I say go see it—you'll be supporting a Christian producer and showing Hollywood that we'd rather see a movie that this than the garbage they come out with.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ashley, age 20
Positive—My husband and I went to see this movie last week. We enjoyed it to say the least. I wouldn't bring young children because it does deal with adultery. What I liked is that it showed no nudity, brief profanity and sincere relationship between the main characters. It was refreshing to watch a drama without being showed too much of the stuff Hollywood usually shows. The character played by Alfre Woodard was a true Christian woman. I liked that one of her daughters was in a faithful, committed marriage. Where her husband truly loved her and provided well for their family. Too many times movies depict African American men as unfaithful and non providing men.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Chandra Myers, age 30s
Negative

none

Movie Critics
…Comedy enters chiefly in the person of Leroy Brown (David Mann), a fat, bald man who dresses in outrageous clothes and bounces around like a hyperactive child. …
—Philip Marchand, Toronto Star
…broad comedy, romance, family bonding, melodrama and Christian inspiration—this one just adds basketball and a dose of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ to the mix…
—Geoff Berkshire, Chicago Tribune