Diary of a Mad Black Woman
2005
On the eve of her 18th anniversary, Helen's husband kicks her out of their home and replaces her with his mistress, calling Helen's whole life into question. Seeking shelter with her grandmother Madea, Helen tries to put the pieces back together.

Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”

I'm not terribly bothered by cartoons that act like what they are. It's the cartoons that don't know they're cartoons that get me bent out of shape. This movie has apparently been created with no reference point in reality; its characters are plastic sitcom archetypes with no thoughts beyond their own trajectory in the overworked plot. Don't you hate it when fluffy sitcoms ask you to take their characters seriously, after they spend most of their time milking those same vapid, moronic characters for cheap laughs? This movie plays like the most self-serious sitcom final├ęs in TV history. I liked the outrageous Madea character and look forward to seeing her again next year in a true comedy, not a weak drama that doesn't have a clue how artificial and trite it is.

And that's not even mentioning the convenient hypocrisy of the plot, in which the main character lies to, steals from, and even tortures her ex-husband nearly to death, while the film preaches a message of Christian forgiveness and the redemptive power of belonging to the church. That the poor woman has already suffered so much at the hands of her cartoonishly cruel partner (all he needs is a moustache to twirl while he cackles) is irrelevant; one does not deserve credit for forgiveness after one has gone on a cathartic revenge spree. Again, I don't mind a revenge movie that knows it's a revenge movie, but I object to a revenge movie that genuinely believes it's a pious Christian fable about acceptance. Please.

(Ending spoiler: In a movie with so many ideas stolen from better films, including the title, I was particularly irked by the ending stolen almost shot-for-shot from "An Officer and a Gentleman," one of my favorite films and one that earned its dramatic flourish at the end by playing conservatively up to that point. Here it just plays like a contrivance with no reference to what has come before, like most of the other scenes.)

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