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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film's messages are clear: Stay loyal to your friends, don't disrespect your family, don't cheat because it always ends badly, and don't give up your dreams. An interracial relationship is depicted negatively, but that's because it's extramarital.
Violence & Scariness
A husband strikes his wife in the face after she insults him and admits to having an affair; he later grabs the other man and holds his body over a ledge. A character purposely overdoses (off screen) on prescription medication.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Couples embrace and kiss, including a man and a woman who are having an affair. The affair is discussed by various characters.
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Fairly mild; language includes "bastard," "piss," and "colored woman" (said jokingly by an African-American woman).
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Products & Purchases
Featured brands include Mercedes, Porsche, Coke, and Dasani water. The song "I Hope You Dance" is prominently mentioned in the film, instead of just being on the soundtrack. Oprah Winfrey's roadtrip with her friend Gayle is Charlotte and Alice's inspiration.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters say "I need a drink" or "get me to a bar" a few times; wedding guests drink cocktails; Charlotte gets drunk doing tequila shots and orders mixed drinks on the road trip.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like most Tyler Perry movies, The Family That Preys is a dramedy that focuses on mature themes surrounding race, class, marriage, and family. It's considerably less joke-filled than his previous work, and there's very little strong language ("bastard" is the harshest word, and it's only said once). There are two violent scenes, but only one is notably disturbing -- a husband strikes his wife. There are several allusions to an extramarital affair, but only one scene in which the couple embraces/kisses. Otherwise, the sexuality is limited to a few kisses between married couples. Most of the commercialism involves the fancy cars that some of the characters drive. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Perry's films have a loyal audience, but this one is a step above his prior work and could expand his audience to viewers who weren't already interested in his Madea comedies. By splitting the story in two -- the rock-steady friendship between Charlotte and Alice, versus their children's destructive entanglements -- Perry lightens the predictable melodrama of the younger generation with the matriarchs' trip of a lifetime in The Family That Preys.
It's a tribute to Perry's reputation that despite lukewarm reviews, his films have successfully attracted more and more top-notch ensembles. Bates and Woodard have a natural rhythm as best friends. Lathan, who's incredibly talented, is perfect as an educated social climber who can't stand her husband or family. She and Woodard have mastered playing mother and daughter (this is their third time) so well that they should be cast as a team. All of the finely crafted performances outshine Perry's overly obvious "lessons" and clichéd plot devices. (Though if you hold on through the end credits, you'll be treated to Gladys Knight's excellent rendition of Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," the soundtrack's most significant anthem.)
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
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