WARNING: The following review contains spoilers, I’m telling you now so you don’t pretend to be outraged later.
Phew…where do I start with this?
I tend to like Tyler Perry’s stage comedies, however, when it comes to his dramas, the plots are just as ridiculous as the ones that are supposed to make you laugh. Acrimony is the latest film from Perry in which he writes and directs the film. The best thing I can say about this is that it definitely got me talking about it after the screening. I can’t tell you who the good guy was supposed to be, who the bad guy was supposed to or what the film was going for but it was definitely an experience.
Acrimony begins as a story of Melinda Gayle (Taraji P. Henson), a woman who has been burned by her ex-husband…or at least that’s what she wants you to believe. She retells her story about how she met her ex Robert (Lyriq Bent), back in College when he accidentally runs into her and then she proceeds to physically assault him, it was love at…third maybe fourth sight. Melinda’s sisters absolutely despise Robert and for good reason. Melinda receives $350,000 AND her mother’s house after her passing and Robert is there to be the leech she allows in her life for over 20 years. Day after day, Melinda puts thousands of dollars into Robert’s dream of creating a self-powering battery. Melinda has put her entire Heritance and her family home on the line for a man who hasn’t had a job his entire adult life. When she finally makes the decision that enough is enough, it comes at the worst possible time.
The primary problem this film has is that you really don’t have anyone to care about because everyone in the film is a terrible person. Melinda tries to fight the stereotype of being an angry black woman despite being one and then some. Robert is a textbook deadbeat that any rational person would have gotten rid of years ago. The supporting characters sole purpose is to tell Robert what a loser he is and that’s it. The audience at my screening seemed to be groaning a lot, especially when Melinda’s saving account got smaller and smaller. Even in the portion of the film where we are supposed to feel sympathy for Melinda, we can’t because everything bad that happened to her, she did it to herself. She loses her ability to have kids…After she crashed her car into a trailer to get back at her boyfriend…TWICE.
After spending about 90 minutes hating both main characters in this melodrama, the film goes full excessive drama in the last act as we discover that Melinda is just as crazy as everyone thought she was. After finally divorcing Robert, he hits it big with his invention to the tune of 75 million dollars. Now you think this would be the reason for Melinda’s breakdown at the beginning of the film. Instead, Robert decides to give her 10 million dollars AND buy her back the house she lost months ago. So why is Melinda so upset? Because Robert has moved on with another woman (the same woman who Robert once cheated on her with, in College) and blames them for ruining her life. So if it wasn’t clear, Melinda is a certified crazy person who lives out her remaining days like a crack addict despite the fact she was just given 10 million and her home to move on with her life.
That’s right, the movie becomes so ridiculous that the 40-year-old deadbeat money pit comes full circle and not only become the protagonist but the voice of reason in the last act. I could spend time talking about the terrible blue screen acting, the fact that the younger version of these actors looks NOTHING like the older actors (Hell, Robert goes from 2 inches shorter than Melinda to 6 inches taller in about one cutscene) or maybe the only likable character is Melinda’s best friend who probably gets about 3 minutes of screen time. None of that matters because the story is completely bonkers, but so bonkers you have to see it for yourself and try to process what you just saw.
If there is one message to take away from Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, is that everything you saw these characters do in this movie…don’t do any of that. You’ll be a better person and save a hell of a lot of money in the process. Acrimony is hot garbage, but it’s hot garbage you have to see to believe.