Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) falls for the shirtless charms of Harley (Robbie Jones). Image by Lionsgate

Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) falls for the shirtless charms of Harley (Robbie Jones).
Image by Lionsgate


THIS MOVIE seems obviously made for the segment of culturally frozen individuals who actually believe organized religion is the only thing standing between sexually adventurous women, including those who cheat on their husbands, and hell or the local HIV/AIDS hospice, which Tyler Perry equates as the same thing.

However, Tyler Perry’s attempt to manipulate his audience through a hair raising movie plot is so over the top that by the end people in the theater where I saw it, many of whom were African American, were laughing. Perry utilizes rape, drugs, stalking, violence against women, topped off by HIV infection of the two main female characters, and as many church-going caricatures you can pack in a soap opera, which is done on the wings of prayers meant to scare women into monogamy or church, maybe both. Perry is either the most tyrannical misogynist, and moralist, or the most cynical black man in Hollywood.

And I’ve got news for you who might have seen comments from others about a certain Kardashian’s performance. The worst of it isn’t even Kim K. playing herself, pretending to be a corporate style diva! Vanessa Williams got suckered into playing a hip swinging matchmaker with a fake French accent that Siri could out perform. However, none of this comes close to the insanely destructive anti-women script that revolves around the most tortured patriarchal stereotypes out of the 19th century, starting with people of faith, many of whom are African American and Perry’s most loyal disciples. The way Perry toys with his core audience of devoutly religious is stunning.

However, Perry’s vicious morality lesson geared at women is what hits you directly, minute by excruciating minute, topped by the worst scripted and acted ending, made even worse through the bad make-up and aging effects. The audience laughed out loud when Judith came shuffling, that’s right, shuffling, into the pharmacy for her AIDS meds, which are being filled by her now ex-husband. The conversation that developed between them over her meds was surreal.

The Grio eviscerated the plot machinations on the HIV/AIDS aspect as “insulting.”

But after being diagnosed, Judith is transformed into a homely “church lady,” hair pulled back, glasses too large for her face, her entire body swallowed by a large, drab grey overcoat.

The implication: Women with HIV lose all desire (or any need) to look and feel like women.

HIV is not a “˜boogeyman disease’

Jezebel has already done a bark-stripping take down of this epic Tyler Perry’s film disaster. Here’s an excerpt:

Harley and Judith, moments before joining the mile-high club. Image by Lionsgate

Harley and Judith, moments before joining the mile-high club.
Image by Lionsgate

Meanwhile, at the Millionaire Matchmaking agency where she works, Judith meets Harley”“the “third largest social media inventor since Zuckerberg!” (so, uh, LinkedIn? Christian Mingle?). Harley immediately fixates on Judith and begins scheming about how to get his penis inside her posthaste. Harley is rich, sexually aggressive (his dialogue highlights the inhuman weirdness with which Perry writes about sex: “Sex should be random, like animals!”), he believes in Judith’s career (Brice, by contrast, told her that she should stay at the matchmaking agency for 15 years before starting her own practice”“!?!?), and he goes jogging with no shirt so ladies will look at his muscles. “I bet you only have sex in a bed with the lamp off,” he tells Judith. (Nailed it!!!) In a clunky counterexample to the cat-calling incident, Harley attempts to murder a doofy bicyclist who accidentally bumped Judith’s knee with his bicycle. He is truly the best man ever.

Oh, also Harley is literally the devil. Linemouth.

You can tell he’s literally the devil because he says things like, “Let me play devil’s advocate,” he drives a sinful red sports car, everything in his apartment is constantly on fire, and every time Judith’s churchy mom sees him she starts screaming, “HE’S THE DEVIL. THAT MAN IS LITERALLY THE DEVIL.” He is literally the devil.

Also see Buzzfeed and Huffington Post.

Perry proves willing to sacrifice everything for a blessed buck. It’s an epically awful film made by a man who has finally revealed himself to have very deep issues where religion, sex and women intersect.

Thinking about it still gives me the willies.

At least “Fatal Attraction” was a good film, while also utilizing real issues swirling in American culture at the time it was made.

Tyler Perry’s “Temptation” is like taking the time machine back to the moralistic, religious right infused 1980s. The film says more about Perry than it does anything, starting with what a bad filmmaker he is.