Rated R for some disturbing violence including a rape, sexual content and language, 120 minutes
Great cast best part of melodramatic "For Colored Girls"
"For Colored Girls" is the new urban drama from Tyler Perry featuring an all-star cast of some of the best actresses of our generation. The cast performs well in the soapy, overdone "For Colored Girls," based on the 1975 Ntozake Shange stage play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf." In spite of a few poignant moments, Perry's stale script is the chief flaw for the ambitious film, which lacks the power and grit a story likes this needs.
The stage play had several nameless women reading a collection of poems that dealt with intense issues that black women face. In the movie version, Perry gives the women names and each of the women have considerable challenges. Jo (Janet Jackson) deals with infeldity; Tangie (Thandie Newton) is a sex addict; Tangie's sister Nyla (Tessa Thompson) is young and pregnant; Juanita (Loretta Devine) has trouble keeping a faithful man; Crystal (Kimberly Elise) is stuck in an abusive relationship; Yasmine (Anika Noni Rose) has shattered dreams and expectations; Kelly (Kerry Washington) desperately wants to have a child but can't let go of her past.
Perry's choppy, histrionic and downbeat "For Colored Girls" doesn't work in spite of the earnest efforts of the cast, which is unfortunate given the talented cast. Devine, Newton and particularly Elise are the most memorable of the large cast, which also includes Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg and Felicia Rashad, both of whom aren't given much to do. Jackson is woefully miscast and her wooden performance drags the film down.
The challenging source material, Shange's play, which was a series of non-linear poems and stories, is turned into a more linear soap opera with some of Perry's typically preachy messages. In spite of the great cast, inspiring play and a handful of good moments (most provided by the always-hilarious and shrill Devine) is a stale, unmemorable effort.