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Tyler Perry changes his policy on critics screenings, but he may come to regret it

October 22, 2010 |  2:51 pm


Prolific writer-director-mogul Tyler Perry seems to have a hate-hate relationship with critics: they hate his films and he hates to screen them for review. He showed his first movie, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" to them and they thrashed it. Then it went on to become a popular success, giving Perry the clout to bar critics from seeing advance screenings of any of his subsequent eight films.

But with his latest feature, the artistically ambitious "For Colored Girls," adapted from the acclaimed 1970s stage play, "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf," perhaps Perry has decided to ease up a little. After all, the film -- which opens Nov. 5 -- has difficult subject matter (such as rape and domestic violence) and doesn't have the easy audience hook of getting to see a grown man in drag. So getting critics on his side seems like a smart strategy.

If early reviews are any indication, however, Perry's newfound spirit of openness may backfire on him. Writing in the Hollywood Reporter, critic Kirk Honeycutt calls the movie a "train wreck," and after acknowledging Perry's built-in fan base, cautions that "word-of-mouth could be toxic."

And over at Variety, critic Peter Debruge echoes those sentiments. He has kind words for the cast, which includes Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton and Whoopi Goldberg, but when it comes to Perry and his frequent behind-the-scenes collaborators, he says, "There's some great acting being done here ... but the cameras aren't where they need to be to capture it, and the editing isn't properly calibrated to shape what the performers are dishing out."

He also writes, "While Perry's craft has slowly but surely improved with each successive film, this latest project seems to fall beyond his reach."

We'll know soon enough if all critics agree with these early opinions. And if they do, it may be a long, long, long time before we see another advance review on a Tyler Perry movie again.

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: The cast of Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls." Credit: Lionsgate

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Fans and ticket sales get the final say so critics may bash all they want but even if he doesn't make it to the Oscars, the ticket sales will be the major encouragement. I won't judge it, till I see it..

Tyler Perry does not need the critics to ok his projects it being done at the box office.The more they bash his films the higher he will go.His films speak to the heart and the everyday person can relate.THOMAS WINSTON

I'm clueless why people like this moron. He produces nothing more than "Blaxploitation" films/movie/shows that degrade our race...I hate this moron for taking us back to the 70's & 80's mentality.

I could care less what critics say...This will be his biggest box office hit yet, and I will definately be there to see it

I would wait until the film comes out and judge for myself. A lot of White folks just don't get the different aspects of the so-called Black experience. I wouldn't take the word of these two critics, that's for sure. TP, we got your back because we not only know what you're up against, but we know you have good intentions with the goals your pursuing.

Man forget the critics, this is going to be box office hit, look who wrote and directed this movie enough said. look at these prolific African American women in this movie!!! they are paving the way for young inspiring actress as myself. I salute tyler for stepping outside the norm and doing something totally different. Theses are issuses not only african american face but every single woman in the world go through every day. to the original writer of the play, i salute you, and thank you for even writing this, i thank you for being the voice. With God on tlyer's side he can not go wrong with this movie. To all you haters i am not going even call you critics, you all are haters. i will be supporting my brother on nov. 5th

Spike Lee made strong black films that were thought provoking and relevant.

this other dude makes new age minstrel shows.

Is it possible that Honeycutt is merely hoping that word of mouth will be toxic? I still think the trailer looks promising and I will be going out to see it Nov. 5. PS I'm white.

Spike Lee calls Tyler Perry's work "coonery and buffoonery." And he's right.

Hate on me haters! Everyone is going to see this movie regardless of what Amy critic says. Bottom line...ii's all about the benjamins, and Mr. Perry will deliver them!

"I would wait until the film comes out and judge for myself. A lot of White folks just don't get the different aspects of the so-called Black experience."

I'm black and I don't "get" him either. Actually I don't get all the black folk who pay money to see the work of this hack. Its tragic that this is the most successful black filmmaker in the business as of now. Lets stop making excuses by saying critics don't care for his work because they are white. They don't like his work because he makes awful films.

This strikes me as Perry's bid for more mainstream credibility. I know, I know; his box office tallies and popularity with the African American moviegoing audience is substantial, and he's very successful within that niche. His movies apparently do not do well beyond that target audience, however, and the movies fare particularly poorly overseas. Here is Perry adapting a Broadway staple by another writer (so "jasmine king," please note that Perry did not write this movie, he only adapted it), and stuffing it chock full of almost every bankable actress of color for the past twenty years. I'm sure the film will have quite a splashy opening, but I doubt seriously that it will have a long or terribly lucrative run in the theaters.

wow I can not believe the words of some of you. Wow!! ok so if you don't like his work you don't have to see it, turn away, don't spend your money on it. You know color has nothing to do with anything ppl take offense to every thing. Italians make gangsta movies and all the italians get huff puff. So what we have choices ppl. Options are like assholes. WE all got one so STFU.. show some respect for one another!


I 'am white and love TP films and play's .. not fair to say that only African Canadians/Americans are the only ones who like his films.

I doubt he'll come to regret, and it's always best to keep the "bitters" at bay.

Who made critics professional opininators. It's clear that every person has their own opinion in a movie, so why does a critic opinion even matter. I know I don't care what they think, what about you?

Leave the man alone he is doing a great thing .I love his movies,plays and him let the man do his thing we all have skeltons in our closet if we did not we would not be HUMAN he is making honest money by doing his gift that god gave him...........

I will see his movies and support him Black yellow and green we all bleed one color RED get over it.........

stop hating people

In today's times, as far as I "thought" we had come, it appears from some of the reviews people simply can not respect someone for their views. Personally speaking, as a white man, I remember all the hype I would hear of Tyler Perry and just simply did not feel the desire to see one of his films. Thank you God, I finally sat down and watched one. I was hooked. Everyone of his stories are relevant to EVERY race, as we all face the same issues. The fact that someone chooses to sit in denial is beyond me. Tyler has broken through the stereotypes and utilized the tools, wisdom and talent God gave him. Rather than sitting in ridicule why not support someone who had the courage and belief to step out on faith and address issues most only sweep under the carpet.

cant wait to see the movie with all my star love tyler perry

Who listens to the critics anyway? Everytime the critics says a movie is trash, it winds up being the best movie ever. It's actually when they say a movie is good, that's when we all should think twice about going to see it. Tyler has shown and proved his talent reaches far surpass many expectations, so I say go, brother go...... I love and support every film/play he has ever made. Nothing like a young man becoming successful through hard work and determination. I applaude him!!!!!!!!!!

When a Tyler Perry movie (or play) comes out, I never think of finding out what the critics think. I JUST FIND OUT WHERE IT'S PLAYING AND WHEN!This man is telling my life with his camera and in general just killing me softly with his choice of black actors, his dealing with the issues that affect people of my race, my gender, my social class, my family's religious background, my urban community, my Southern roots...I can relate to difference and diversity and I have all my life. But when I want to feel at home, I know where to go. Certainly not to Hollywood movies that apparently can not imagine me wanting to see anything but gangbangers and ho's. That's even when I even get to SEE a black actor in a Hollywood movie. Oh, sorry, sorry, how ungrateful of me! They get to be sidekicks, now, too, don't they? Tyler KNEW I had waited thirty years and more to jump up with my fists balled and shout when Idris Elba beat down that drug dealer. He knew me even though he's not from Detroit. He knew how I'd feel watching that. He knew how I'd feel watching big beautiful Jill Scott learn to love herself. And have two men fighting over her, one who had ridiculed and abused her for so long finaaly realizing her value. Tyler Perry's movies show me what I want to see. He supplies my demand; Hollywood ignores me or throws me a bone once in a while. I am a big, hungry old black woman. I have been waiting a long time, through Stepin Fetchit, Willie Best and Mantan Moreland all over the place, and not enough work for beautiful Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne, but finally some respect for Sidney Poitier...Well it's a long story, but I am grateful for Tyler Perry. My college education doesn't make me over to the point that I can't still feel who I am. I can read Pope's "Rape of the Lock" and write some kind of response to that kind of wit, that kind of poetry, but I willl never relate to that poem the way I did to Ntozake's book or this movie. He knows how I live and how I feel and what is important to me. Now, I don't mean this disrespectfully or blasphemously, but it just seems like "cain't nobody do me like Tyler Perry."

Check out this review of For Colored Girls from 4 colored girls on Sistah Talk TV Show,



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