Movie Review: Tyler Perry’s ‘Single Moms Club’

Brooklyn Bass, Staff Writer

When it comes to a typical Tyler Perry film, one can expect the movie to begin with an opening scene introducing the audience to the protagonist, who almost always happens to be a disadvantaged woman at the hands of an abusive man. Then after a showcase of men dressed in drag and many modernized, offensive caricatures of black stereotypes, that woman finds happiness not because she found her inner-self or built up her self-esteem, but only because she found yet another man. However, this time around she finds a good man.

Perry’s “Single Moms Club” ultimately ended perpetuating the same theme to its audience. Nevertheless, the movie approached the idea from a slightly different angle. This might have to do with the nature of the topic addressed in the film, single-parenthood. As a result, the standard, vile male of a typical Perry film had a very small presence or even proved to be completely absent in some of these women’s lives.

“Club” follows five women, May (Nia Long), Hillary (Amy Smart), Lytia (Cocoa Brown), Jan (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Esperanza (Zulay Zenao), as their paths cross when their children are caught smoking and vandalizing at an exclusive private school. Fortunately for these single mothers their children do not get expelled; however, they are put on a probationary period and the parents become responsible for organizing an upcoming school dance. Throughout the film, personalities clash and a child goes missing for a short duration. Nonetheless, in predictable Perry fashion, all goes well; every character gets matched with a good man, underdeveloped characters make the most meaningful friendships, and the hardships and realities of real single mothers are insultingly idealized.

Instead of attempting to raise awareness of all the distress single mothers are faced with on a daily basis, Perry touches on little with lacking characters and a plot full of faults. In addition, in his striving to maintain diversity, he distorts reality. The mothers live in upscale apartments and trendy, large homes made for the upper class and he leaves only one mother to live below the poverty line. For example, Hillary cries over not being able to afford her maid after a vicious divorce settlement, while in reality, many single mothers cry over the prospect of not being able to feed their children. Due to the lack of realism, some of the drama Perry tried to weave into the story left an imbalanced effect on the audience.

One can praise the casting if one only considered their attractiveness. Of the mothers, Nia Long and Zulay Zenao stood out as big screen beauties. Then for the men, William Levy as Manny, Esperanza’s love interest, and Eddie Cibrian as Santos, Esperanza’s ex-husband, looked gorgeous on camera. The acting, however, proved not to be as strong as their looks.

Despite the major mistakes Perry made with this film, he was successful at creating a feel-good film that highlighted problems that went beyond single motherhood. He touched on sexism in the workplace as Jan strived to have it all as partner of her book publishing firm. Poverty was also addressed, albeit in a minor way. Altogether, the film has the potential to prompt movie-goers to become appreciative of their mother, whether she is single or married. Without much thinking, one can be soothed by “Club”’s tribute to all mothers who do so much for their children’s well-being.