Blerd Film Club: Daddy's Little Girls

I hate Tyler Perry films, the colorist nature, the forced religious perspective, bad acting, low paying, poorly filmed, unoriginal, all around shit shows that they are. I can go on and on about why Tyler Perry is not the savoir of Black Film as people like to claim or BET believes and so proudly bet the company on. But I'm not here to do that today. Despite my dislike of Tyler Perry, I like Idris Elba, Gabrielle Union, Tracee Ellis Ross, Craig Robins, Lou Gossett Jr, Terri J. Vaughn and how did he get them all in this movie? 

The film follows a mechanic named Monty and his three daughters. The children were being cared for by their maternal grandmother who was financially supported by Monty while he tried to get a place suitable to raise three kids. The grandmother asks Monty to get custody because her daughter, Monty's ex wife Jennifer is no good. Well, Kat dies, and Jennifer shows up to the funeral asking why nobody told her that her mother had died. She then tries to physically take the kids until she's stopped by an aunt. Jennifer swears revenge and full custody before leaving.

Monty picks up some extra work as a driver for a lawyer named Julia, who is going on blind dates with forty year old rappers. When Monty gets a call that the girls are in the hospital he ignores Julia and drives there instead. Julia comes in demanding to know what's going on. As she does Jennifer is granted temporary custody of the girls because Monty had left the home alone. Meanwhile Jennifer and Joe, her drug dealing boyfriend are neglectful of the girls. 

Sierra, one of the girls is caught selling drugs at school. Monty gets the call and she tells him Joe is forcing the girls to sell drugs under threat of killing Monty. Jennifer and Joe arrive angrily demanding to know why Monty was called first. Joe and Monty exchange some less than nice words and they depart. Monty asks Julia for help with the custody hearing because he can't afford a lawyer. She straight up says he's too broke to afford her, and that he only wants the girls so he can get government assistance. Monty leaves, because Julia is way out of line.

Julia finds her perfect man, but isn't willing to accept his wife and children. The next day she happens to walk by Monty failing to defend himself and explain Joe is a drug dealer. She gets the hearing delayed and promises to represent him. They grow close and when Monty learns her hating friends made no plans for her birthday he takes her to a jazz club. Her friends hate him because he isn't on her level like the rappers and adulterers they previously set her up with.

At the trial Julia provides written letters from Jennifer's mother and community members stating that Monty is the better guardian. Jennifer and Joe's lawyer counters saying Monty was arrested for rape 16 years before. Julia immediately quits the case and custody is awarded to Jennifer. Monty agrees to by the garage he works at, as he believes that's all he has left. At three in the morning, the girls arrive at his apartment after running away because Joe was hitting them. Monty comforts the girls, and puts them to sleep.

Monty then drives over, and crashes into the car Jennifer and Joe were riding in. He pulls Joe from the wreckage and just beats him down. The neighborhood comes out to watch and when Joe's gang comes, the neighborhood joins the fight. Julia sees the news the next morning when they explain Monty's rape charge. At 17 he had consensual sex with a 17 year old white girl, who's parents had him arrested for rape. He was forced to sign a plea deal and has been fighting it behind the scenes for 16 years.

Jennifer and Joe have the neighborhood testify against them after police found drugs in their car and home. They're taken to jail and they would have gotten away for it too if it weren't for those meddling kids and that stupid mechanic. Julia shows up in time to defend Monty who is charged with assault. Nobody saw anything and we fast forward to Monty, Julia and The Girls at his auto shop.

Perhaps I like the idea of Tyler flipping some of the tropes he holds so dear. Usually a down on her luck woman is leaving an abusive relationship with her dark skinned husband. He may do drugs, or beat her, but he is undoubtedly the cause. She will learn to pray away the pain with Madea, which means at some point that trauma will resurface. Her prayers work and a light skinned man who treats her right will appear and sweep her off her feet. He'll beat up the dark skinned man in a fight for love and Madea will throw a party. 

At some point we'll need to talk about how rape and sexual assault are featured in nearly all of Tyler Perry's work. Not as a way to work through the trauma, or even an anti-rape analogy. He simply uses it to forward the plot and take up a few minutes of the run time. It's no different here when we learn Monty was falsely arrested for rape. Sure, he flipped another trope here and blames racism, but it does nothing for the plot. He could have just as easily been accused of murder. Tyler writes all his own scripts and it shows because even when he tries to do something different, the true Tyler shines through. 

In one way I'll give him credit, he essentially made a romantic-comedy with a hint of drama. This is good because Black people don't seem to be allowed to have romantic comedies that are cheesy. Instead our love stories tend to be based in a mutual trauma. Love and Basketball is great, but their love is built on a shared love of basketball and hatred of their fathers. Brown Sugar leads the way when it comes to Black Romantic comedies, and I believe it'll stay that way for a long time.

It's probably Tyler Perry's best film, and it still isn't that good. Don't get me wrong, the acting was great, and it should have been with all the talent in that cast. But the writing is still poor, there's no real reason for a lot of the dialogue. Despite decades in the industry at this point, camera work is still passable at best and frustrating at worst.

Despite that, I still enjoyed the film. There were a few good laughs and I'm a sucker for scenes where communities come together to stand against a gang, then the police. I still wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again, but if it was on TV I wouldn't start flipping channels right away. It isn't a good film, but it is a feel good film. I suppose that is the appeal of Tyler Perry's content. It just makes you feel good. But I am not a light skinned man looking for love, nor am I a woman leaving my abusive husband and a prayer circle with Madea has not healed my trauma, so his other films don't make me feel good. But single father finding love, and overcoming adversity is just good content.

You can check out some of my short stories at 12 AM Fiction or if you like vampires follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast if you enjoy pro wrestling.

Blerd Film Club: Daddy's Little Girls Blerd Film Club: Daddy's Little Girls Reviewed by Darrell S. on Friday, November 06, 2020 Rating: 5

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