Tyler Perry’s ‘Temptation’ delivers a strong message through a weak script and cast
Tyler Perry released Temptation, his 13th film this past weekend bringing in $22.3 million despite the backlash for casting the woman America love to hate – Kim Kardashian. How does she fit into a typical Perry film, and most importantly – can she even act?
Kardashian’s performance was much better than expected. Is she being nominated for any awards? No. Could this lead to more roles? Not if the casting director has a clue. As promised by Perry, Kardashian has a minor role as Ava, Judith Morton’s co-worker, and appears in just three scenes. Her first scene is the most painful to watch, and overall her acting skills are about equal to those of the actors you see in a made for TV scary movie. To make matters worse she’s juxtaposed next to Vanessa Williams who in turn delivers her worst performance, and worst fake accent, ever. Kardashian’s saving graces are the comedic lines she throws out in each scene and the fact that her character, and wardrobe, don’t differ to far from the real Kim K.
Lead actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell has a much better performance, playing Judith, the sweet country girl we’ve seen before in movies like Eve’s Bayou. Six years into her marriage to childhood sweetheart Brice Morton (played by Perry favorite Lance Gross) and desperate to jump start her career as a marriage counselor, Judith meets tech millionaire Harley (Robbie Jones) who is desperate to show her how easily he can provide all the things she’s missing in her simple marriage. Predictably enough, the Christian-bred Judith spends more than half of the just about two hour film being led into a number of temptations including lust, glutton, and more. As you can guess since this is a Tyler Perry film, it doesn’t end well for Judith or her marriage.
Temptation‘s entire storyline is predictable, even when Perry thinks he’s thrown in a twist we know exactly where he’s going – he just takes too long to get there. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. For those eager to check out eye candy Gross, this movie is $12 well spent. The first hour holds ample opportunities to stare at his abs at length, and if you get a little bored, newcomer Jones flaunts his sculpted body as well. Just as the length of the film starts to get to you in the second half, Perry throws in a Madea-esque joke to get you laughing and hang in there just a little bit longer.
Where the film itself lacks in dialogue, casting, and suspense, its supported by the messages Tyler Perry is so adamant about sharing with the world. For starters, Judith cheats on her sweet, handsome husband with a less attractive suitor, why? Because infidelity is rarely about looks and almost always about being in awe at a shiny new object their current situation doesn’t provide. Perhaps the reason for the length of the film was to show that giving into temptation isn’t always so easy as being offered and immediately accepting – often one only succumbs after repeated aggressive attacks of their willpower. Even Brandy’s small role seems to serve only as a vessel to preach accountability for one’s own actions – but only if you’re a woman of course. In true Perry fashion, Temptation closes out with a tragic ending for the female lead, ultimately driving home the notion that giving in to temptation may feel good for the moment, but is never worth the consequences you may have to face.
Temptation is a lengthy, cliche-filled film that preaches lessons, rather than raises questions. Scenes in which you can relate are a tad bit easier to enjoy but as a whole it’s a bit cheesy, predictable and extremely depressing – like most of Perry’s films.