HOLLYWOOD—Tyler Perry, the man behind the hit character Madea is a triple-threat when it comes to writing, directing and producing. He has tapped into acting a bit, but I think he is far more successful behind the camera. While known for comedy, Perry has found a way to broaden his horizons. I loved “Why did I Get Married,” and I thought “The Family That Preys” was sensational, a major departure for the director/writer. His latest flick “Acrimony,” a psychological thriller is a tale about all the things that can go wrong when a woman is betrayed or in this case scorned.
Look I know a ton of people would like to compare Taraji P. Henson’s character Melinda to Angela Bassett’s character in “Waiting to Exhale,” but please don’t. These are two completely different characters that couldn’t be more different. Melinda is a woman who falls madly in love, in actuality blindly, madly in love during her college years with Robert (Lyriq Bent), who has the charisma and charm to woo anyone, even though he is dirt poor.
As a result, she makes stupid choices letting her heart dictate her actions, and in the process alienating herself from her family. Robert makes the first mistake of cheating on Melinda in the early stages of their relationship which leads to her spiraling out of control, doing something that makes it impossible for her to get pregnant. One of the biggest problems with “Acrimony” is that the trailer and TV spots have practically spoiled the entire film for the audience; you know what is going to happen, who it’s going to happen to and in some instances when it’s going to happen. As a result, when things unfold on the screen its nothing that delivers a punch to the gut, you expect it and are slightly let down by the outcome.
Is it fun to watch Henson go bonkers mad with a character? Yes, and the actress couldn’t be better, but she suffers from a lackluster script that really only allows her to rage, and when she exhibits other emotions, you want her to go back to being angry. As a spectator, you want to compare her character to her portrayal of Cookie on the hit TV series “Empire.” That is the problem, the constant comparing of Melinda to other characters that we’ve seen in cinema over the years. Our protagonist/villain doesn’t unravel right away, and that is a fun element, but when she really unravels it feels like too much too soon.
I expected to see more fireworks between Melinda and Diana (Crystle Stewart), who is the woman that Robert first cheated on Melinda with. I mean a bit of a catfight between the two women would have been fun to watch. Instead we see Melinda hone all of her anger on Robert, which is rightfully so, but this is an ongoing trend in the sage of women being scorned by men. Why not throw a curveball or two at the audience and twist things up a bit.
“Acrimony” seems to drag a bit in the pacing; there is this buildup that should have had a better result than what is given to the audience. I mean the climax is fun, but at the same time the ending leaves the spectator wanting more. It’s almost like a cheat of sorts that doesn’t give the audience what they want.
The best advice I can say “Acrimony” delivers is that betrayal is something that not only dismantles a relationship and fractures trust, but it can also drive a person crazy. Unfortunately, it’s a trend that we’ve seen time and time again, where that person tends to be the woman, now wouldn’t it be fun if the twist saw the man as the person spiraling out of control?