A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns is noticeably less raunchy than other Tyler Perry movies, while still emphasizing the standard, uplifting "work hard, don't take any shortcuts, and have faith" messages for which he's become famous. There's not much swearing, few innuendoes (and only one passionate kiss), and plenty of relatives who offer solace and support to one another. There are mentions of drug dealing, pimping/prostitution, and illegal gambling -- as well as suggestions of mild drug use -- but love, decency, and faith pretty much conquer all.
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What's the story?
In TYLER PERRY'S MEET THE BROWNS, Brenda Brown (Angela Bassett) is having a bad run: She just lost her job, her electricity's been cut off, her unpaid babysitter is disgruntled, and she can barely feed her kids. So when a letter shows up at her Chicago apartment inviting her to her long-lost father's funeral -- with three bus tickets to Georgia enclosed -- she's left with no reason to say no. It turns out to be a smart move. The unnamed Georgia town she visits is truly an escape, an antidote to the harsh big city. Here, relatives who hardly know Brenda embrace her family warmly, the slow pace teaches her to give pause, and a handsome neighbor (Rick Fox) takes Brenda's son, Michael (Lance Gross) -- and Brenda, too -- under his wing. But the call of the city proves too great, so she and her kids go back, only to face tragedy that brings them South once more.
Is it any good?
It would be totally predictable to say that this movie is predictable (the same thing has been said about nearly every single Tyler Perry movie). As Perry's movies go, Meet the Browns is actually less stilted and slightly more inventive, plot-wise. The characters don't speak in cliches as often as they have in the past, and the warmth feels genuine.
Ultimately, it's a feel-good film, despite its flaws. Perhaps that's largely because the central character is played by Bassett, who manages -- for the most part, though not fully -- to transcend the cloying storyline. That said, even she can't save the bits that are played all-out for laughs, especially the funeral scenes at the church and cemetery, which just aren't all that funny. (Neither is Perry's Madea cameo.) Memorable moviemaking it isn't. But entertaining? If you like Perry's work, yes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Brenda's struggles as a single mom in Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns. Do you think the movie portrays her realistically? Have any parts of the movie been "Hollywood-ized"? If so, which ones?
What do you think makes Tyler Perry's movies so popular? What do they have in common? Who are they targeted at, and why do they appeal to that audience? Do you like him better as his character Madea or as a "regular" actor? Why?
What does the film say about the role of faith and family in helping people face hardships?
- In theaters: March 21, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: June 30, 2008
- Cast: Angela Bassett, Rick Fox, Tyler Perry
- Director: Tyler Perry
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: drug content, language including sexual references, thematic elements and brief violence.
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