Quantrell Colbert
Lisa Schwarzbaum
September 15, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
Wide Release Date
09/11/09
performer
Taraji P. Henson, Tyler Perry, Mary J. Blige, Adam Rodriguez
director
Tyler Perry
distributor
Lions Gate Films
author
Tyler Perry
genre
Comedy

We gave it an A-

By now the components of a Tyler Perry drama and its predominantly African-American characters are as ritualized as a church service: The good men and the bad, the women who don’t know which way is up and those who have seen the light, the testimonies of solace found in prayer and song, the demonstrations of family durability, the crazy-ass funny talk from Perry playing both the unsinkable matriarch Madea as well as her outspoken brother, Joe.

I Can Do Bad All By Myself, based on Perry’s play of the same name, is all that, with a booster shot: It’s probably the impresario’s best-made movie yet, his most joyful, and his most moving. Certainly it’s the first to unite Taraji P. Henson (in strong form as a self-destructive singer who won’t do right by the kids her dead crackhead sister has left behind) with Gladys Knight and Mary J. Blige (each blowing the roof off the place, in song). After a summer of phony, pasty rom-coms, do this: See a movie where old-fashioned notions of love, faith, strength, and the possibility of redemption are taken seriously. A-

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