Since last year, I have been sitting in anticipation of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, based on his play (my favorite) of the same name. I was more than a little excited as I took my seat. Unfortunately, what I got was not exactly what I anticipated.
Meet the Browns is about a struggling single mother, Brenda (played by Angela Bassett), who is so hard on her luck that the mean old lady who watches her little girl is compelled to be nice to her. Brenda finds out that her father has passed and his family is inviting her to Georgia for his funeral and the reading of his will. While there, she makes the acquaintance of a suave ex-pro ball player and all-around coach/trainer. Predictably, they fall in love.
Comparisons to the stage version are inevitable, so if you haven’t seen the play, I’m sorry if I ruin it for you. While I didn’t expect Perry, who wrote, produced and directed the film, to have the exact same storyline from the play, I did expect the movie to be as good, if not better.
Meet the Browns is a pretty good time at the movies, but it wasn’t as good as the play. Here’s why: L.B. is played by Frankie Faison in the film and Kendrick Mays plays him in the play. Mays’ portrayal of L.B. is a lot more comical, believable, and enjoyable than Faison’s. Not to say that Faison is not a good actor, because he is. Faison has been in front of the screen for many years, now. But, he just didn’t do the character of L.B. much justice.
Although some of the more comical scenes of the stage version did make it to the movie, the juicy goodness depicted in the play is dried out in the movie. For instance, Mr. Brown (played by David Mann) mentions how Pop Brown tried to teach him and his siblings how to swim. This scenario is quite funny in the play, but in the movie, it seemed to be lacking something. The same goes for the short funeral scene.
One of the good things about this film is Sofia Vergara’s character, Cheryl. A lovable character, Cheryl is the kind of friend every woman should have; she’s tough and loves hard. Her personality reminds me of my friend Lola; only Lola doesn’t smoke weed or carry a 9-millimeter on her person; as far as I know.
Other actors of note include: Jennifer Lewis as Vera, an-over-the top alcoholic; Tamela Mann as Cora Brown, innocence in its purest form; Rick Fox as Harry, whose face can’t seem to register emotion; Lance Gross as Michael, the footballer on his way to the top; Margaret Avery as Sarah, a beautiful woman in an obvious wig; the sexy, sexy, sexy Lamman Rucker as Will, Vera’s son; Chloe Bailey as Tosha, Brenda’s daughter; and Mariana Tolbert as Lena, Brenda’s adorable youngest child.
Relationships and God are always the underlying themes for any of Perry’s works. His formula has gotten old. It’s time for him to address other situations, like poverty, the war on terror or even racism.
Meet the Browns is a funny movie that I’m sure many Perry fans will enjoy. The film’s writing wasn’t show stopping, but effective, and Perry’s directing has improved since the days of Madea’s Family Reunion. The playwright/filmmaker is good at entertaining the black masses, but it’s time for him to choose different themes to grab a wider audience.