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Movie Review: Tyler Perry’s ‘Temptation’ Falls Titillatingly & Alarmingly Short

**This review contains revealing details from the movie “Temptation”. If you have not seen it, reading this post will feel a lot like when you go see something with a friend who’s already seen it and they keep telling you to “watch this!” Therefore, continue at your own risk.

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There are a lot of things to hate about this movie and Tyler Perry’s now infamous creative style in general. The preachy church-people-are-good-everyone-else-is-a-demon rhetoric. The fact that I can pretty much rely on a “sexy” guy taking his shirt off at least once (whether it’s for our enjoyment or his, well that’s still up for debate). And the awkwardness of his continual overuse of close-up shots. Yet somehow, the trailers drew me in (mind you, I’ve been boycotting Tyler Perry films for the last 3 years). The thought of Jurnee Smollet-Bell caught in a love triangle seemed wickedly out of character for Perry. But it turns out the exact opposite is true. What I find most disturbing this time around with “Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor” is how unsexy he makes a movie about sex. And how eagerly the black community accepts this depiction.

The movie starts out predictably though promisingly with a marriage counselor telling what sounds like a cautionary tale to a pre-adulterous wife. Then we’re swept into the endearing young Love of high school sweet hearts Judith and Brice (Jurnee Smollet-Bell and Lance Gross). But as the reality of delayed dreams and marital malcontent sink in, so do her spirits. Smollet-Bell plays a convincing awkward and “forgettable” 2o-something who knows very little about herself or her body–let alone what’s needed to keep a marriage together. So things quickly heat up when tech-savvy pseudo-playboy/knight in shining armor, Harley (Robbie Jones), capitalizes mostly on Judith’s sexual inexperience. Throw in some line from Harley about people “having sex like animals” (I was fanning myself), a classic sexual-tension filled elevator scene, an unwittingly neglectful husband, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a titillating affair!

temptationOnly, that is of course until Perry throws us an alarming curve ball. Judith and Harley end up alone on Harley’s private plane–a business trip serving as the perfect opportunity for him to make his move on a married woman. But Judith persistently pushes his advances away. She clearly says “no”. She clearly says “stop”. Harley forces himself on her a bit harder, however. So much so that Judith actually has to fight him off. To which Harley aggressively grips her up and sternly replies “Stop! Now you can say you resisted”. And then proceeds to have sex with her without her consent. I’m sorry, maybe I am crazy, but that is called rape where I’m from. And suddenly the tide’s low again if you know what I mean. There’s nothing sexy, steamy, or arousing about rape. Judith seems to agree with me and goes home crying and screaming at Harley to never call her again. Those are not the actions of a woman who willingly steps out on her husband to fulfill a sexual longing not met at home.

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The movie never treats it like a rape though and soon Judith’s under Harley’s spell. It is not completely uncommon for a rape victim to fall in Love with her rapist. So I suppose this wasn’t completely far-fetched. However, Harley begins exhibiting even more abusive behaviors. He introduces her to hard drugs, separates her from the people who Love her, and whoops her ass. As if that wasn’t enough to punish the philandering harlot, we learn at the end of the movie that Harley gives Judith HIV. BUT Perry never portrays Judith as a victim. Even though Melinda (Brandy Norwood), Harley’s ex-girlfriend, plays the I’ve-had-a-hard-life-so-now-I-don’t-trust-anyone victim role so well Melinda’s boss mistakes her for a lesbian. Wait, what? So the girl who willingly got involved with Harley in college is a victim and we should feel sorry for her but the married woman who gets raped by him is a whore? So what’s the moral of the story here ladies? If you’re stupid enough to catch the attention of another man besides your lazy husband, Jesus will hate you, you will get raped, contract HIV, and die. Oh wait, no my bad. Melinda wasn’t a victim either. She deserved HIV because she didn’t protect herself when she knew Harley cheated on her. That’s right, I forgot. What was I thinking?

tp new movieWhat started out as a seductive fantasy soon turned into a right-wing conservative sexual education lesson in a hick town with a ban on contraceptives. And I’m ashamed to admit this but most of the people in the theater, my people, seemed to like it. Maybe they were jut taking the film at face-value. That’s cool I guess. But when you’ve got the power to speak and a good portion of your community listens, you have a responsibility to watch what you say. I mean does Perry have any positive feelings about sex? From the messages in this film, it certainly doesn’t seem so. Good thing not all of us are so easily duped by a well-placed hallelujah. Uh uh. Try again Mr. Perry. Or better yet, do us all a favor, and don’t. Ever. Again.

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About The Black Soliloquist

Summer Rain. Whispers me to sleep and wakes me up again. Sometimes I swear I hear it call my name. You wash away the pain. My summer rain.

11 responses »

  1. This was a pretty spot on review… The problem with Tyler’s work is that like you insinuated, it’s so uniform and predictable. Everything is so by the book (literally the bible. lol). That’s the major gripe I have about his movies.

    Oh P.S.
    you forgot to mention the stellar and most convincing acting job by Kim K. Hats off to her on her first roll. (Absolutely no sarcasm)

    Reply
    • I don’t know much about Kim K. but I kept reading that she pretty much played herself except bitchier. IDK. I don’t really care either. All I know is her character was a horrible friend to Judith.

      Reply
  2. Oh wow!! THE SPOILERS!!! *covers eyes*

    Jkjkjk… This movie actually wasn’t on my list of movies to watch (after The Rock’s random appearance at the end of “Why Did I Get Married Pt. 2, I was done seeing Tyler Perry movies in theatres). But it’s funny because right before I got an email saying you posted it, Grandma was telling me that Danielle really LOVED this movie (and as we all know, Danielle having a really strong positive reaction to something is really rare) and I was wondering if maybe I should give it a shot. *eh* I’ll Redbox it one day. [[Random, I just watched “Think Like a Man” for the first time over Spring Break]].

    Anyway,

    I guess I can’t really say much since I haven’t seen it. Tyler Perry has found a movie formula that apparently works for him and he apparently can’t fathom switching it up. It was #1 in the Box Office and brought in $41.2M. I mean, this IS what we measure success by, right?

    Reply
    • I think at this point, people know his movies are going to be bad. Kind of like going to see a Twilight movie or reading Shades of Grey. You don’t expect much but scandalous entertainment. And he was doing good until he delivered my entree of steamy adultery with a side of rape. I’d see “Think Like A Man” choosing Steve Harvey and all his fuckery 100x over TP

      Reply
      • Alright now let’s be careful with the comments about Think Like A Man…That was an excellent movie. Not to be compared with Temptation in the least bit!

      • Well, I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey but most of my friends describe it as a good book. As something I NEEED to read. My point is I think that it isn’t that people think his movies are going to be bad. I mean, there are critics. But there are a lot of people out there who really like Tyler Perry and what he’s doing. In my Back Experience and Film class, some even made the argument that he’s a better producer than Spike Lee since he knows how to market to black audiences (what was the last Spike Lee movie you went to see?).

        And I don’t completely agree with Davon’s use of the word “excellent” but Think Like a Man was a really cute film.

      • I guess I’m the wrong one to talk to then. Because 50 Shades of Grey was unbearable in between sex scenes. And Davon and I actually DID go see Spike’s last one: Red Hook Summer. And I respect his artistry and ability to make a film that leads to plenty of discussion and oftentimes looks at the black community both endearingly and critically. His characters aren’t either good or bad but human. While Tyler’s characters are always caricatures, like he’s an old greek playwright or something. But maybe I’m just boojie idk lol

        Think Like A Man was a happy middle ground between Tyler and Spike. Certainly not high art and sophisticated but a much needed down to earth non low budget film thats fun to watch!

  3. Harsh Review…But Very Respected! Check Mine Out! Keep the great Blogs Coming! – PROFESSOR JT

    http://johnturnerworld.blogspot.com/2013/04/temptation-confessions-of-marriage.html

    Reply
  4. I didn’t think that Harley raped Judith and thats why the movie didn’t treat it as a rape. I felt like he was saying “now you can say you resisted” as in “now you don’t have to feel guilty for going through with this because at least you tried to say no. And you’re supposed to try and say no, even though you really want it.” It was more to develop Harley’s character as that bad boy-take whatever he wants- overpowering and seductive dark side. And in the same moment showing Judith’s weakness and naivety.

    I normally stay away from the coonery that is a Tyler Perry film. They are usually predictable and make a mockery of middle class african americans like myself, but “for a tyler perry film” I actually thought this was a step up.

    Reply
    • I respect your opinion and appreciate your comment. And I can accept that Judith probably thought about having sex with him and desired/lusted him. But regardless, her words right before they had sex were “no” “stop” “don’t” and “get off me”. She did not give her consent. Outside of this movie, that’s unacceptable! I could lust after some sexy stranger on the street, that don’t mean I actually want him coming over to me and stripping my clothes off. I wouldn’t want my son to continue having sex with any woman who said all those things right before they’re intimate. At best, that means she’s undecided. So a man should never tell a woman what she wants or assume what she wants while she’s undecided. He should wait for her consent.

      So far, I actually think Tyler’s best (and least coonish lol) work was Why Did I Get Married? That’s my personal favorite which was actually one of his earlier ones.

      Reply
  5. Great Review. I have not seen this movie yet because me and my wife seen the play version like 4 times live, and I new what the movie was going to be about. I admire TP for his grind, but those movies are getting quite boring to me, so I have not watched it yet, and from your review I am not in a hurry.

    http://www.blackconvo.info.
    http://www.kingbraswell.com

    Reply

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