It was just one of many highs in “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” which opens in theaters today.

Madea is hilarious anytime she’s on screen. The uplifting theme of hope is literally in your face from beginning to end. After watching “Madea Goes To Jail,” the only question was whether or not I Can Do Bad could avoid feeling ridiculously overdramatic.

How dare I question a movie with an Academy Award nominated actress as the lead (Taraji P. Henson).

Henson plays April, a selfish woman who’s sleeping with and living off of a married man, while spending her nights drinking and singing at a nightclub. When her niece and two nephews (Hope Olaide Wilson, Kwesi Boakye, Frederick Siglar) land on her doorstep with nowhere to go after trying to rob Madea’s house, April wants nothing to do with the kids. An immigrant named Sandino (Adam Rodriguez) also moves in, doing handy work around the house in return for room and board.

Of course Henson knows how to bring the drama. Rodriguez’s role as the kind stranger is thoroughly heartwarming as the importance of self-worth are present in his every action. Also in the mix are the local pastor (Marvin Winans) and his wife (Gladys Knight) who try to provide spiritual support for the troubled April.

Throw in Mary J. Blige as April’s friend, Tanya, and you’ve got a group of musical powerhouses whose talents aren’t wasted in the least. Winans, Knight and Blige all get their turn at belting out inspiring tunes. And even though their performances are the most engaging parts of the movie, I wonder in the back of my mind if they’re so lengthy because Perry needed something to fill the gaps. Even if that’s the case, some movies could only dream of having “gap fillers” that entertaining.

“I Can Do Bad All By Myself” is the kind of movie that leaves you feeling good as you walk out of the theater. It really is like leaving church after hearing a sermon that’s got you fired up enough to take on the new week. It’s filled with every clichéd scenario of a drama, but the emotion displayed throughout feels real. Every word has an important meaning. Tyler Perry is on the mark with this one.

Kary Bowser is co-producer of the Matt & Ramona Show (107.9, The Link). Read his reviews at Email:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *