Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 2018. BET Films, Paramount Players, Tyler Perry Studios. Screenplay by Tyler Perry. Cinematography by Richard J. Vialet. Produced by Will Areu, Mark E. Swinton. Music by Philip White. Production Design by Paul Wonsek. Costume Design by Crystal Hayslett. Film Editing by Larry Sexton.
Trailers cleverly capitalized on Tiffany Haddish‘s recent breakthrough as a comedy superstar and convinced audiences that they were going to watch a vehicle displaying her talents, but what viewers showed up to was another disingenuous Tyler Perry romance in which Haddish is merely supporting comic relief. The mess of a screenplay has Tika Sumpter as a high-powered advertising executive who is distraught to learn that her less successful sister (Haddish) is being released from prison and their exasperated, hilariously bewigged mother (Whoopi Goldberg) refuses to take her in. Bringing her unreliable, brashly loud sister into her well ordered life makes Sumpter nervous about her prospects both with her job and her love life, having recently been dumped by her fiance and keeping up an emotionally committed relationship with a man she’s only met online. Haddish thinks her sister’s online boyfriend is catfishing her, while Sumpter ignores the handsome coffee shop owner (Omari Hardwick) who happily hands her a hot drink every morning and makes no complaints about her constantly turning him down, kindly giving her recently paroled sister a job and even accompanying her to AA meetings. There’s always the hope that Perry’s combination of twisty plots and A-list casting will make for something at least diverting if not unforgettable, but his writing is always appealing to his audience’s moral satisfaction, not their emotional desires, and what should be lighthearted fun is actually quite dark and disturbingly judgmental. Haddish has a good time lashing out but her character never fits into the rest of the world credibly, it feels like she was added to a later draft to give life to an otherwise familiar love triangle, and while Perry is smart to make room for quite a lot of improvised mania from her, he never seems to notice that Haddish has far too little to do with the rest of the movie (her character should ultimately be the linchpin to the whole romantic plot but she’s really just used for noise).