Rated: PG-13 for some violence, sexuality and drug content. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: March 29, 2013 Released by: Lions Gate Films
Tyler Perry works in a little different world than his famous Media (who is a-lot of fun) as he attempts a moral play in which those who sin eventually pay a price.
The story told by the marriage counselor (Candice Coke) follows Judith (Jurnee Smollette-Bell) and her husband (Lance Gross) from childhood to a time of gray hair. Early on the young couple are joyful to watch from kids playing together to a young couple touching and rubbing on each other at the end of the day. When they are together life is good and that comes through quite well to those of us watching. Smollette-Bell is particularly effective and believable early on as a young woman in love. She becomes less comfortable as Judith as time passes. Judith remains attractive but she doesn't fit her character under stress as well as her happier times.
The surprise at the climax is telegraphed from the beginning and is expected, and the hook is nasty but would have been more dramatic a decade ago. Lance Gross who plays Judith's husband and Smollette-Bell are two attractive actors who might be more enjoyable to watch in a warm comedy with no lessons to be learned. But the failure in Temptation probably falls to writer/director Tyler Perry who wants to make a film that is as good as the two characters but can't quite reach that goal.
Harley (Robbie Jones) is the wealthy seducer who acts like a mild abuser compared to Christian Gray non-the-less takes advantage of Judith's ambition and sense of adventure. Kim Kardashian plays herself concerned with looks rather than substance wearing clothes that Judith wonders if she can breath in her tight skirt. Brandy Norwood is very effective and convincing as a young fearful abused woman who continues to run from her former lover.
Perry's attempt to make a woman's film doesn't quite work perhaps a darker more poignant ending like Barbara Stanwyck in Stella Dallas could have worked. But he deserves credit for attempting to travel in the area of human weakness and consequence, if this is just his beginning in a serious world it's not that bad.
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