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Worth A Look: 11.49%
Just Average: 5.75%
Pretty Crappy: 19.54%
Sucks: 28.74%

4 reviews, 63 user ratings

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Diary of a Mad Black Woman
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by Peter Sobczynski

"This movie doesn't need a review, it needs a prescription"
2 stars

“Diary of a Mad Black Woman” wants to be an inspiring melodrama about a woman who is cruelly dumped by her husband and who learns to become a strong, independent person who does things on her own terms as a result. It also wants to be a crowd-pleasing revenge drama about a downtrodden person who gets the upper hand on her oppressor and begins to pay him back for all the wrongs he did to her. Astonishingly, it also wants to be a broad, raucous comedy in which a sassy ol’ granny tries to get laughs by screaming at the top of her lungs and waving a gun around in virtually every scene. The result is one of the most schizoid films that I can recall seeing; imagine watching a film consisting of haphazardly spliced reels of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Misery” and “Big Momma’s House.” This movie doesn’t need a review, it needs a prescription

Kimberly Elise stars as Helen, whose seemingly perfect life comes to an abrupt halt one day when Charles (Steve Harris) her husband of 18 years literally packs up her belongings and throws her out of the house for good--replacing her with a younger, whiter woman with whom he has already fathered two children. (As an additional subtle touch, he does all this on the evening of their anniversary.) Helen is understandably shattered and is forced to pick up the pieces of her life and start over again. Before long, she does just that by getting the first job of her life, reuniting with her estranged mother (Cicely Tyson) and meeting Orlando (Shemar Moore), a “good” man who is willing to serve as a good-natured doormat who loves her no matter what she says or does. And since she does all of this in record time, she doesn’t even bother to demand any real divorce settlement from her monstrous ex (who, in the meantime, has no doubt been grinding up the bones of small children to make his bread while struggling to grow a handlebar mustache that he can twirl while tying maidens to the nearest set of railroad tracks); instead, she cooly informs him, “You will reap what you sow!”

She isn’t kidding. As it turns out, back in the early days when Charles was struggling (and no doubt clubbing baby seals in his spare time), he used to moonlight as a coke dealer for the local drug kingpin. Now he is in legal trouble and demands that Charles get him off in court or dire things will happen. Unfortunately, the verdict is guilty and even before Charles can file an appeal or even hear what the sentence will be, the kingpin grabs a gun and shoots him in the spine. After failing in an effort to pull the plug on him, the evil Other Woman takes off with all his money and Helen volunteers to care for her now-crippled ex. When he still belittles her, however, Helen finally snaps and takes out her anger by smacking him around, allowing him to sit for days in his own filth and nearly lets him drown in a bathtub. Thankfully, all this abuse has a salutary effect and Charles quickly becomes a model husband and devout Christian who hopes to begin again with Helen. Will she choose her newly reformed ex or Orlando, who is still standing by patiently even though Helen hasn’t bothered to explain any of this to him at all?

This is pretty heavy going, I suppose, so writer Tyler Perry has chosen to lighten things up by introducing Madea, Helen’s sassy grandmother, into the mix. To say that the character sticks out like a sore thumb would be an insult to sore thumbs. She screams, capers, mugs, rolls her eyes and is forever waving a gun in her hand for no other reason than the fact that someone thought the idea of a gun-toting granny was somehow intrinsically amusing. At one point, she does an impression of Faye Dunaway in “Mommie Dearest” screeching about wire hangers and later pulls a chainsaw out of thin air to chop up a living room. If that weren’t enough, it quickly becomes apparent that Madea is being played by a man (by Perry himself, who also portrays Madea’s aging, pot-smoking brother and Helen’s straight-laced brother, whose ex-wife is a crackhead), which therefore destroys whatever shreds of plausibility that her scenes might have had. How could anyone involved with this film in any capacity have believed that sticking someone as broad as Madea in an otherwise straightforward (if melodramatic) story might work for even a moment?

I believe that I have my answer. A little research reveals that the film is based on a play written by Perry, one of several that he has toured successfully around the country for largely black audiences and Madea is a recurring character in all of them. While I’ve never seen any of these shows on stage, I can see how such a character might work in that kind of setting since all of the characters are working from the same level of theatricality. On the more realistic playing field of film, however, it comes off all wrong, even if you ignore both the unconvincing drag and the cut-and-paste editing job required to create, none too successfully, the illusion that Madea and her brother are two different people. No, where it fails is that while someone like Kimberly Elise (who is actually pretty good here) is playing her part fairly straightforward, Perry is in the same scene acting as if he is still on stage hamming it up for the people in the cheap seats. Since there is no real reason for the character to exist at all from a narrative perspective, Perry and director Darren Grant probably should have dropped her if they had any desire for their film to work on any serious level. By leaving her in, it drags the film down to the level of a sitcom precisely when it needs to be taken seriously; imagine if Rob Schneider had popped up in the middle of “Punch Drunk Love” or “Spanglish” to do his “You can do it!” schtick and you’ll get a pretty good idea of the effect Madea has on the proceedings.

With its combination of grim drama, goofy comedy, sloppy filmmaking (one especially odd montage attempts to fuse together the romance of Helen and Orlando with the grim flashbacks of the crackhead, all to the tune of “One of Us”) and ham-handed spiritual uplift (a climactic church scene features no less than two miraculous spiritual conversions; I kept waiting for a scene in the parking lot where those involved accused each other of stealing their thunder), “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” is a bad movie, but the sheer weirdness of the proceedings is strangely compelling–you don’t want to turn away for fear of missing another bit of inexplicable weirdness. This is not to say that you should run out and see the film, but if you somehow find yourself in a situation where you are compelled to watch it, you can be assured that you have never seen anything quite like it before in your life.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11768&reviewer=389
originally posted: 02/25/05 06:00:39
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User Comments

11/15/14 Juan What's the last date I can post this to to arrive in time for Christmas? <a href=" h 4 stars
11/15/14 Victoria What's the last date I can post this to to arrive in time for Christmas? <a href=" h 3 stars
11/13/14 Darin Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 2 stars
11/13/14 Romeo Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 5 stars
10/23/14 Ella Insufficient funds <a href=" ">lumigan eye drop (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) - 0.03 ( 3 stars
11/17/10 Jerome Cook Eric D snider is a racist. ever heard of queen latifah or will smith fucker? 5 stars
9/23/10 veronica Absolute garbage. 1 stars
8/22/10 Thomas Carte If 60 people say your not funny and 20 million say you are whos right ? 4 stars
8/13/10 Joe Thanks for something new. I'm so sick of "cookie-cutter" and "typical" movies in America!! 4 stars
8/02/10 Jamie If you condemn this movie, it seems to me you gotta throw out Frank Capra, Indian films too 4 stars
5/13/10 ashleigh tui all you people that think it's wrong?..well you are SO wrong this is by far the best movie! 5 stars
4/05/09 Nevaeh Was into it until the end, till that line about "Buddha...". Not cool to the rest of us. 1 stars
11/27/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 5 stars
10/07/08 leonard. garbage. made me sick. 1 stars
9/21/08 Gabi Elise(not the WORST actress)&Moore:Hot! Who sang song n/restaurant when Helen ate alone? 1 stars
12/29/07 R. Marie If this is the best in black cinema, my people are in trouble 1 stars
8/25/07 K. Andreya This is a beautiful movie that gives hope to women and men w/ relationship issues 5 stars
8/19/07 D Movie sucks. If this is a "good" movie i'd rather watch a bad movie. 1 stars
3/30/07 David Pollastrini PRETTY DUMB 2 stars
12/16/06 uko5vxj@dmoz.org funny ringtones 3 stars
11/28/06 Elisa This is a must see!! It was great!!! 5 stars
9/23/06 lourosa it let people know that there is always calm after a storm 5 stars
8/21/06 angie r. i loved this movie!!! 5 stars
8/04/06 J. Lindsey This is by far, one the BEST movies in the black film industry. A def. must see!!!! 5 stars
6/16/06 Billy Just awsome, man 5 stars
6/06/06 George Alford Excellent movie 5 stars
4/03/06 katherine a fabulous film...get over your self if you don't like it. It has a great message! 5 stars
3/30/06 Chrissy Laughing is good for the soul... Loved it 5 stars
3/15/06 Ben Z Poorly done clishes peppered with pedantic platitudes but other than that it's still awful. 1 stars
3/13/06 andrew a fabulous film 5 stars
2/28/06 lesha Damn! Tyler Perry made a hit. 5 stars
2/21/06 toya it was a good movie it dhows what every day people go through in life 5 stars
2/19/06 Tanya It is a decent film could be better 3 stars
1/23/06 irsten I think the critics are comepletly wrong, funny how they like movies everyone hates lol 5 stars
1/11/06 Zanieta Cannon I believe that this movie is off da chain. Keep doin what you are doin tyler perry!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/03/06 JO this movie was so hilarious! tyler perry is a wonderful writer and definately NOT tacky. 5 stars
1/01/06 cody a very good movie that not only funny but had good story to boot, with great perf. 4 stars
12/07/05 Sandra Lawe very juvenile 1 stars
10/28/05 Susie This film is about family, forgiveness, and love. Very funny. "You will reap what you sow" 5 stars
10/18/05 Damon Gentry It was great!!! 5 stars
10/16/05 dekko What a mess. (hold it--"Ex-Black" House Wife? Eh?) 2 stars
10/11/05 Shekita Jamison the movie was GREAT! 5 stars
10/08/05 A Mad Ex-Black House Wife It was a comedy with a msg! Too each his own. Don't like, don't watch it. More crap Perry 5 stars
8/14/05 Bad Critic What the hell did I just watch? Literally one of the worst movies I've ever seen! 1 stars
7/20/05 Shena Johnson This movie really opened up my eyes to a true marriage, I think marriage can wait. 4 stars
7/16/05 R. Romero Really enjoyed this movie. No violaence. Just a good story about a housewife who got screwe 4 stars
7/08/05 Earthell Paul-Branch I can tell previous 4 reviews just don't have a clue 5 stars
7/07/05 jee ann I really liked the move 4 stars
7/01/05 Eric Rollins Diary of Mad Movie-fan who saw this Crap! 1 stars
6/30/05 Candy In order to appreciate the message in the movie, you must have experienced diverse cultures 5 stars
4/09/05 8th_Samurai humor is pretty lame 2 stars
3/08/05 S.R. Worth a look. Pretty darn good for the first movie time. Flip Wilson would be impressed. 4 stars
3/03/05 frances ignore the critics 4 stars
3/01/05 Erik The Movieman One of the worst movies ever made. Unbelievably Shitty! 1 stars
2/28/05 Fran Plair I loved this movie 5 stars
2/27/05 Delicious Great Movie 5 stars
2/25/05 Joy Venters SOUNDS GOOD 3 stars
2/25/05 Denise Shmar looks great 2 stars
2/25/05 Kristina Williams there's a HUGE line outside my theater to see this trash. 1 stars
2/25/05 mott the drupal rob schneider is my idol 1 stars
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  25-Feb-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Jun-2005



Directed by
  Darren Grant

Written by
  Tyler Perry

  Kimberly Elise
  Steve Harris
  Shemar Moore
  Tamara Taylor
  Tyler Perry
  Cicely Tyson

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