Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)

Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman is the film that helped start the Tyler Perry sensation. Kind of like in Big Momma's House, or The Nutty Professor, Perry dons the fat suit, and plays three roles in the film, the most memorable being Madea, an Atlanta ghetto, gun toting grandmother whose overbearing personality functions as the matriarch of a troubled extended family.

While Perry as Madea steals the show, he has only limited face time throughout the film. Much of the plot focuses on a young woman, Helen, played by Kimberly Elise and the relationship with her husband. He is a powerful attorney, and instantly their seemingly idyllic life comes to a crashing end as he throws her out for another woman. As she hits rock bottom, she discovers who she is, and must start anew. Without giving the plot away, through an unusual turn of events, their “exes” paths cross again, and some interesting reversals occur as they journey down the grand pathway of life.

Set against this rather serious plotline, we have Madea playing the stereotypical Southern African American woman, complete with all fixin’s. It’s all in good fun, and nothing offensive as we poke fun at institutions such as Sunday family dinner after Church, summer block parties, and a trip through the court system. Despite not being front and center throughout the film, Perry’s performance as this character, even as he plays opposite himself in several scenes is what makes the film memorable.

While at first I thought the comedy in the middle of the drama was more of a distraction, as the film progresses, it does work successfully. If you’re looking for something that bridges drama and comedy (as life often does…), than Diary of a Mad Black Woman should fit the bill.

Overall Grade: B

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