The most popular piece of writing advice that gets bandied about is “write what you know.” Tyler Perry heard this advice and confidently went, ”nope.” We present to you: Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club, as written, directed, and acted like someone who has never met a single mom. Or had children.
A staple for any Tyler Perry movie is to have about 17 characters, give each a terrible secret/unbelievable obstacle to overcome, and then they overcome it. It feels good, but only if you don’t look at the gaping plot holes and don’t ask too many questions.
The movie begins with five single moms being called into a conference with the principal of their children’s school. “And where are the fathers?” asks the principal. Where indeed? Maybe these kids wouldn’t be smoking and tagging the school with graffiti if some dads were around (a little heavy handed Mr. Perry, but I get your meaning).
As punishment the principal makes the moms plan a charity event. Wait, what? The moms get in trouble? And the principal is going to trust five random ladies with a fundraising event for her fancy private school? These are single moms who can barely make it to a conference on time! They can’t handle this! The moms get together and decide that it’s hard being a single mom and they should take turns watching the kids so the other moms can go sing karaoke and go to strip clubs. This is the basis for a club. Who are these women?
This is May Miller. She’s a writer, has a son, and is being pursued by Tyler Perry’s character. We start with her trying to pitch a book, being rejected, and running late for the meeting at her son’s school.
Heavy Handed Stereotype: Let’s start with desperate for a man. Tyler Perry shows up AT HER HOUSE, and she finds it charming rather than unsettling. May is the only mom who is late for the conference at school, so let’s add “frazzled” and “too much on her plate” to the single mom stereotypes.
Deep Dark Secret: Her son’s father is a drug addict.
Crazy Drama: When her son runs away to see his dad (whatever you do May, DO NOT call the police when this happens. Go home and wait after you call his name a few times!) May gets mad at the other mom who was supposed to be watching her kid. Then her “pride” keeps her from talking to the other moms – maybe because you acted like a psycho May?
Conclusion: Say you’re sorry to the other moms and everything goes back to normal.
This is Hillary Massey. She’s divorcing a lawyer, having to fire her maid, and has a crush on her next door neighbor. White people problems. Amirite? She seems to solve her problems by crying and drinking wine.
Heavy Handed Stereotype: Clueless white lady. Has three kids but can’t take care of them without the help of a housekeeper.
Deep Dark Secret: Her daughter loves the maid more than Hillary.
Crazy Drama: She loses May’s son, because when Hilary was supposed to be babysitting she was sitting on the porch flirting with her neighbor. To be fair, all the kids were asleep, but shouldn’t rich white ladies own a baby monitor or some kind of surveillance equipment?
Conclusion: Just be a better mom I guess? Her kid likes her better, and Hillary cries less. And date your neighbor because it’s convenient and you’re both attractive.
This is Lytia Wright. She has five kids, no car, and her two oldest are in prison. She is also sassy, loud, and a waitress at what I can guess is a Waffle House. She’s got a customer that tries to woo her by bringing her a funeral wreath. Her life is exactly what kind of life you can expect to have when you wear crazy leopard coats without irony. She’s excellent at putting up with Jan’s casual racism.
Heavy Handed Stereotype: If Tyler Perry was going to dress up and play one of the single moms himself, Lytia would be the one. She is loud, “sassy”, and lower middle class (but with a heart of gold).
Deep Dark Secret: Maybe that her two older kids are in prison? But that’s not exactly a secret, because she reminds her youngest son of it all the time when she’s yelling at him to act right. I wish her secret was something like she used to be a competitive Salsa dancer or was starting a jewelry business, but we don’t have time for character nuance.
Crazy Drama: Lytia won’t let her son play basketball outside, because that’s the gateway activity to robbing a liquor store.
Conclusion: Let your kid play basketball sometimes and date the guy who gives you a funeral wreath. Your life can only get so good, so take what you can get.
This is Jan Malkovitch. She works in “publishing” because nobody told Tyler Perry this was a dying industry. She’s a “career gal” who spends too much time at work and is wary of minorities, and Jan starts the movie dashing May’s dreams. She has a daughter who is sexually aggressive, but Jan herself hasn’t gotten any in 10 years. She likes to ask other members of the moms club things like “why is your son named after a Jewish holiday?”
Heavy Handed Stereotype: Casual racist. Career gal who is too focused on work to be feminine enough for a man.
Deep Dark Secret: She can’t sing. You don’t suggest karaoke as an activity if you are tone deaf.
Crazy Drama: She is up for “partnership” in her publishing company but being a mom is getting in the way. Is this even a thing?
Conclusion: She moves to another publishing firm (really? She has several to choose from? Is everyone unaware of what’s going on in this economy?), spends more time with her daughter, and decides to publish May’s book.
This is Esperanza Luego (because, HEY THIS IS THE HISPANIC CHARACTER doesn’t roll off the tongue like you’d think) and she is also a stay at home single mom. She has a boyfriend who she won’t introduce to her daughter because her ex-husband (Eddie Cibrian!) keeps threatening to take her house away.
Heavy Handed Stereotype: The spicy Latina.
Deep Dark Secret: I guess the fact that she can’t read her divorce decree to find out that her ex doesn’t own the house she lives in.
Crazy Drama: Seriously, Eddie Cibrian won’t give her a break. He buys their daughter a phone and lets her wear makeup. This isn’t “crazy” because all she has to do is say “Lay off Eddie!”
Conclusion: “Lay off Eddie!” and she finally introduces her daughter to her boyfriend.
What have we learned from all of this? There are five kinds of single moms out there and if you can figure out which kind you are and start a babysitting co-op, your problems practically solves themselves.
What are other people saying about this movie? Here is a five star review on Amazon, so you can decide for yourself:
I don't know why the film wasn't a hit at the Box Office but it was a hit for me when I watched it at the movie theater with a group of people, it's not a chick flick, it's for everyone Men & Women! I thought the acting was phenomenal, the humor worked at every moment it hit, the emotions was surreal and it had a universal story line that I can relate and saw myself in the movie as the men the single moms fell in love with! Keep up the good work Mr. Perry, I think you're doing a fantastic job!!! Can't wait for your next production, either it's Madea or not!!!! I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone, Tyler Perry fans or not Tyler Perry fans!!! Getting this one for my Tyler Perry collection definitely!!!
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