A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Single Moms Club hews closely to a formula that other Tyler Perry movies follow: It's uplifting, mostly teen-friendly and, yes, formulaic. There's some mild swearing (mostly "hell"), open but superficial discussions about the hardships women face in and out of marriage; and some kissing -- nothing that most teens can't handle, really. Expect a bit of smoking and references to drug addiction too.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
They may not have chosen to be friends on their own, but when the children of stay-at-home moms Hillary (Amy Smart) and Esperanza (Zulay Henao), journalist May (Nia Long), waitress Lytia (Cocoa Brown), and publishing exec Jan (Wendi McLendon-Covey), get in trouble at school for tagging a wall and smoking cigarettes, the women are given one option: band together to plan the next school school dance or risk having their kids expelled. It's motivation enough for them to meet, but soon they all discover that they have a few things in common, among them that they're all raising kids alone. And that they all need friends who understand to help them through the darkest days.
Is it any good?
If good meant well-intentioned and kind-hearted, then THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB sort of passes the test. But that's about it. In truth, The movie suffers from a severe lack of imagination, and anything it accomplishes by bringing up the challenges single mothers face -- hardly groundbreaking, by the way, considering talk shows were shedding light on this topic way back in the 1990s -- dissipates in the face of its cliched dialogue and rudimentary plotlines. The women all bring up the many different ways the men in their lives disappoint, yet the male characters here are given very little to do, and most are drawn superficially.
In fact, most of the issues that Perry, who stars in the movie, too, addresses are dealt with by skimming the surface, never daring to go deeper. One child's father is an addict, yet he's never seen and when something involving him happens, the audience doesn't see it. Today's families are a sophisticated lot; they deserve better movies with complicated characters. (McLendon-Covey rises above the rest in hilarity, but she's a caricature, like many of the others, too.) Having a big heart doesn't forgive most of this film's sins.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the women in the movie are friends. What are their similarities and differences? How realistic are their relationships with each other?
How does the movie handle class and race? Are these issues discussed explicitly? What do you think the movie's stance is on differences of class and race? Did you notice any stereotypes?
Teens: Is there anything in this movie that you could relate to directly? Friendships between different kinds of people? Parents making rules about cell phones or behavior?
- In theaters: March 14, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: July 22, 2014
- Cast: Amy Smart, Nia Long, Tyler Perry, Eddie Cibrian, Zulay Henao
- Director: Tyler Perry
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some sexual material and thematic elements
- Last updated: May 15, 2020
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