Why Did I Get Married?
Why Did I Get Married? (2007)
★★ / ★★★★
Four couples go on an annual trip, this time staying on a cabin in snowy Colorado, serving as a retreat so each couple can reassess their respective marriages by voicing out their concerns and what they can do better to stay married. Patricia (Janet Jackson) has written a bestseller about their experiences, but a new set of problems threatens to cut their vacation short.
Written, directed, and produced by Tyler Perry, although “Why Did I Get Married?” is easily able to reach dramatic heights by asking questions about the trials and tribulations of marriage, it is at times tonally confused, inserting pockets of comedy that come across as inappropriate when the serious issues at hand need to be addressed with urgency. While the comedy is indeed very funny at times, there are moments when I found myself feeling guilty for laughing with, as well as at, the characters.
The married folks placed under a microscope are middle- to upper-class African-Americans. Despite this distinction in race and class, the problems that they have are broad enough to be relatable on some level. Perhaps the ugliest marriage is between Sheila (the luminous Jill Scott) and Mike (Richard T. Jones). When a flight attendant kicks her out of the plane because she had only booked one ticket when airline policy made it clear that people who carried a certain amount of body weight needed to pay for two, Mike further embarrasses his wife by suggesting that she drive across states while he stays on the plane with her friend with whom he intends on having an affair. The conflict in the marriage is digestible because there is a clear good versus bad, but it remains interesting because we are curious to see if or when Sheila will wise up and leave the relationship. Because she’s used to being treated as a doormat, it isn’t always clear whether she can grow a backbone overnight.
The couple that is more or less played for laughs involves Angela (Tasha Smith) and Marcus (Michael Jai White). Not only is Angela very controlling, she’s very aggressive physically and verbally. She loves to hit below the belt and make her husband feel less than, especially when it comes to money, given that she provides him employment. The comedy enters the equation when someone, whether it be a man or a woman, tries to put Angela in her place to no avail. She’s not one to back down from a fight. I was most curious about her, what she’s attempting to cover up considering she makes the most noise. However, the way her character is dealt with leaves much to be desired.
The resolutions do not always fit each subplot. With the marriages that have hope of reconciliation, I was especially bothered by the fact that the women, even if the men have their share of flaws, did most of the apologizing. It seems like Perry needed more inspiration while finishing the screenplay because the final product is aswarm with typicalities: men are given scenes when they “man up” to their problems and women are given time to cry. It’s an odd and contradictory approach given that the women are supposed to be smart, strong, and independent while holding down first-class careers.