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“Diary of a Mad Black Woman“
Reviewed by: Wayne A. Klein
Genre: Comedy
Video: 1.85:1 Anamoprhic widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages English
Subtitles English
Length 116 minutes
Rating PG-13
Release Date 6/28/05
Studio Lion’s Gate Films
Commentary: Tyler Perry
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: “The Making of Diary of a Mad Black Woman”
Filmography/Biography: “Who is Tyler Perry?”
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: Previews and trailer
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: Deleted scenes and outtakes
Music Video: “You Can Do It…Electric”
Other: None
Cast and Crew: Kimberly Elise, Steve Harris, Shemar Moore, Tamara Taylor, Lisa Marcos, Tiffany Evans, Cicely Tyson, Tyler Perry
Written By: Tyler Perry
Produced By: Tyler Perry
Directed By: Darren Grant
Music: Camara Kambon
The Review:

Tyler Perry’s film has certainly polarized both critics and audiences. I believe that most of those folks that were offended were whites horrified at African Americans taking the caricatures and stereotypes portrayed in movies and playing with them. Opening up Tyler’s play actually improves it and there are some heartrending moments that are very memorable. It certainly is true that Perry’s script does occasionally pander to the expectations of an audience used to seeing stereotypical characters drawn from too many sitcoms but his play touches on a number of issues that affect the African American community oday. Despite some limitations, Perry’s script also creates a number of memorable characters and Grant’s direction helps open up the play making the play less stage bound. ***

Charles (Steve Harris) a high profile lawyer decides to end his marriage to Helen (Kimberly Elise in a nice performance) on the night of their anniversary. His wife discovers all this when she returns home to find that her husband has had all her things packed while she’s been gone. He ends up dragging her out of the house the very night he brings home his trophy girlfriend to stay with him. She ends up going to the only place she can go—to stay with her larger than life grandmother Madea (Tyler Perry). Eventually falls for Orlando (Shemar Moore) the man hired to drive her belongings away in a U-Haul. She turns back to God but when her husband is injured she wonders if she can forgive him for how badly he treated her. ---

Image and Sound: A very nice picture with sharp image, colors and a nearly flawless transfer, “Diary” looks marvelous on DVD. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound format makes pretty good use of the format placing the expansive sound all around the room. Perry also discusses the various scenes that were cut for the movie (some of these scenes can be found in the “Special Features” section. ---
The Extras:

We get two very funny long outtakes. We get a pretty good “Making of” featurette filled with clips from the movie and comments from Perry’s co-stars on the project. Director Grant and Tyler give extensive interviews discussing the genesis of the play and characters. “Who is Tyler Perry” gives a brief bio about Perry’s life through the eyes of the actors in his film and Perry himself. Perry describes himself as a “building block” upon which his carer and his characters are built. Starting with the play “I Know I’ve Been Changed” Perry began writing as a result of watching Oprah discussing the value of writing about what bothers you. “You Can Do It…It’s Electric” gives the steps to the dance that Madea and her party guests do at her home. “The Tyler Perry Collection” features clips from Perry’s plays featuring Madea. We also get the trailer for the film.

Commentary: Tyler Perry’s commentary is much more involving and detailed than the commentary tracks for his plays on DVD. He discusses the challenges of playing all three characters and how difficult it was shooting in the real locations of the film. Evidently there were no soundstages used to recreate the homes that this film takes place in which may explain the feeling of authenticity. He relates the difficulty in playing against himself as another character---
Final Words: A funny movie about revenge and the way African Americans treat others when they want to forget about their past, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” has some very funny moments. While the film does occasionally fall into the clichés of TV sitcoms, the strong performances of the cast and seriously undertone at the heart of the film make it worthwhile.


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