Hot Take: It’s almost worth it for Taraji P. Henson’s rage-filled performance. ALMOST! But not quite.
Tyler Perry’s latest is like lather, rinse, repeat. Critics hate. Audiences ignore. Money stacks. Hate, ignore, stack. That’s what Tyler Perry movies do. But is Tyler Perry’s Acrimony any good and would it be successful without the name on the marquee? The quality question is pretty easy to answer: Not really. While Tyler Perry’s Acrimony starts out with a lot of promise and features the talents of Taraji P. Henson in a relatively juicy role for her, the film unravels in the middle of the second act and never pieces it’s way back together. As for the other question, it’s likely Acrimony sans Tyler Perry would have had similar success at the box office since these relationship revenge flicks, especially featuring African American stars, have a way of banking at the box office.
Tyler Perry’s Acrimony picks up with Melinda (Henson) in court being handed a restraining order and a sentence of therapy for an as yet unknown reason. Quickly, we learn that Melinda’s ex-husband (Lyriq Bent) and fiancee (Crystle Stewart) are the aggrieved party but it’s Melinda who is angry about her ex. Melinda takes her therapist back through how her and husband met in college (the young Melinda and Robert are played by Ajiona Alexus and Antonio Madison) and although the young Robert cheats on Melinda and we get a first glimpse of her angry streak, the two get married. Melinda supports Robert throughout his attempts to patent and sell an invention of a rechargeable battery he swears will make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Obviously, the pair don’t last. It’s revealed in the first five minutes of the film, so that’s not a spoiler. However, it’s an entertaining deterioration and Henson plays the part of Melinda with a craziness few can achieve.
Unfortunately, the second half of the film is nowhere near as good as the first. What started with such promise slips down a silly, insane and implausible (even for a Tyler Perry flick) slope and never recovers. What starts as entertaining becomes eye rolling and even annoying as the film reaches it’s over-the-top climax. Maybe it’s the surprise that the first half is as good as it is that makes the second half such a let down as these types of films usually deliver a lackluster first half to the point where its ridiculous third act is welcome. Henson does give a very good performance even if her character devolves into a cartoonish version of itself in the end.
Depending on your appetite for these types of films (they are typically an acquired taste) and your stance on the Tyler Perry phenomenon (don’t worry, there’s no Madea to be found here), Acrimony might be something that entertains you. Personally, the 2 hour run time was too much and there just wasn’t enough good material to sustain the 120 minutes. Plus, Henson, while good, wasn’t given enough to work with and by the end, she even looks like she’s ready for the movie to end. It never feels as if Acrimony is taking itself too serious, though, which is a good thing. But who am I to argue with success? Perry has managed to get the green light on 19 films… he’s doing something right.
You’ve been along for the ride of at least a few of Perry’s 19 films and have enjoyed the ride when you’ve chosen to hop on.
The words Tyler Perry and movie cause your blood to boil when used in the same sentence.