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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 11.49%
Average: 5.75%
Pretty Bad: 19.54%
Total Crap: 28.74%

4 reviews, 63 user ratings

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Diary of a Mad Black Woman
[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"You'd be mad, too, if your race were represented by this crappy film."
1 stars

If you don't like the tone of "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," just wait five minutes and it will change. It is, at various times, a soap opera, a madcap farce, a melodrama, a crime drama and a Christian missionary tract. A film that can shift gears like that so often, and do it successfully, is a rare, surprising delight. Unfortunately, "Diary" does it painfully and awkwardly, displaying a blind ineptitude on the level of some of the worst films I've ever seen. It doesn't keep changing styles because of some grand master plan; it keeps changing because it doesn't know what it's doing. This movie is an absolute train wreck.

The main casualty in this horror show is Helen McCarter (Kimberly Elise), the wife of a prominent Atlanta lawyer named Charles (Steve Harris), who dumps her after 18 years of marriage so that he can be with his long-time mistress and their children instead. Charles is cruel and monstrous to an absurd, implausible degree, literally dragging Helen out of the house with no notice and coldly denying her any alimony, despite being filthy rich himself.

Helen finds solace in the home of her great-aunt Madea, and that's when the film turns into a badly handled, over-the-top farce. You see, Madea is one of those enormous, sassy, fast-talking old black ladies you see in movies, and she is played (as they so often are, for some reason), by a man in drag. He is Tyler Perry, writer of the stage play on which the film is based, and also the portrayer of Madea's vulgar brother Joe and Helen's cousin Brian. But Madea is clearly Perry's bread-and-butter, his Hamlet, his Mona Lisa. I see on Perry's Web site that the character has been spun-off into other plays in which she takes center stage.

Pity, then, that she's such a broad, unbelievable, hastily assembled character -- or at least she is in the film (which was directed by first-timer Darren Grant but adapted by Perry). She carries a pistol and encourages Helen to go back to Charles' house and tear up the place. She is meant to be "outrageous," but I don't believe anything she does. She doesn't belong in what is otherwise a dramatic comedy built around real emotions and relationships. She belongs in an "In Living Color" sketch, if anywhere.

But the film has more problems than that. If we were talking about one out-of-place character, that would be one thing. A movie can recover from a problem of that nature. But let's continue. Charles, it turns out, used to be involved in some nefarious deeds with low-lifes, and one of them blackmails him into being his defense attorney in an upcoming case. Then Charles is shot and becomes paralyzed (!), at which point Helen must work through her feelings of hatred for him and consider helping him, since she is still legally his wife. Unfortunately, she has already met and fallen in love with a hunky man named Orlando (Shemar Moore).

Meanwhile, Helen's cousin Brian has a wife named Debrah (Tamara Taylor, and yes, "Debrah" is misspelled like that), and she has a bit of a crack problem, and I think she lives on the street. For some reason, the movie believes that after all the mess with Helen and Charles and Madea and Orlando, we're STILL going to have room to care about ANOTHER story. To make the Brian/Debrah situation even more convoluted, Debrah doesn't want their daughter to join the church choir because it was music that got her (Debrah) on drugs in the first place. She doesn't say whether it was a church choir specifically that did it, but I like to think it was, because the image of pious altos and sopranos in choir robes passing syringes back and forth in the choir loft makes me laugh. But anyway: What the F, movie? Seriously, what the F?

After what feels like an eternity, the movie finally gets around to its hollow redemptions and trite messages, but darned if I care. The stories are illogical, the characters are badly written, and the film constantly wavers between being ludicrous and simply boring. The whole thing is a mistake from start to finish.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/25/05 16:15:52
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

11/16/14 Juan What's the last date I can post this to to arrive in time for Christmas? <a href=" h 4 stars
11/15/14 Victoria What's the last date I can post this to to arrive in time for Christmas? <a href=" h 3 stars
11/14/14 Darin Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 2 stars
11/14/14 Romeo Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 5 stars
10/24/14 Ella Insufficient funds <a href=" ">lumigan eye drop (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) - 0.03 ( 3 stars
11/17/10 Jerome Cook Eric D snider is a racist. ever heard of queen latifah or will smith fucker? 5 stars
9/23/10 veronica Absolute garbage. 1 stars
8/22/10 Thomas Carte If 60 people say your not funny and 20 million say you are whos right ? 4 stars
8/14/10 Joe Thanks for something new. I'm so sick of "cookie-cutter" and "typical" movies in America!! 4 stars
8/02/10 Jamie If you condemn this movie, it seems to me you gotta throw out Frank Capra, Indian films too 4 stars
5/13/10 ashleigh tui all you people that think it's wrong?..well you are SO wrong this is by far the best movie! 5 stars
4/06/09 Nevaeh Was into it until the end, till that line about "Buddha...". Not cool to the rest of us. 1 stars
11/28/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 5 stars
10/08/08 leonard. garbage. made me sick. 1 stars
9/22/08 Gabi Elise(not the WORST actress)&Moore:Hot! Who sang song n/restaurant when Helen ate alone? 1 stars
12/30/07 R. Marie If this is the best in black cinema, my people are in trouble 1 stars
8/26/07 K. Andreya This is a beautiful movie that gives hope to women and men w/ relationship issues 5 stars
8/20/07 D Movie sucks. If this is a "good" movie i'd rather watch a bad movie. 1 stars
3/31/07 David Pollastrini PRETTY DUMB 2 stars
12/17/06 funny ringtones 3 stars
11/29/06 Elisa This is a must see!! It was great!!! 5 stars
9/24/06 lourosa it let people know that there is always calm after a storm 5 stars
8/22/06 angie r. i loved this movie!!! 5 stars
8/05/06 J. Lindsey This is by far, one the BEST movies in the black film industry. A def. must see!!!! 5 stars
6/17/06 Billy Just awsome, man 5 stars
6/07/06 George Alford Excellent movie 5 stars
4/04/06 katherine a fabulous film...get over your self if you don't like it. It has a great message! 5 stars
3/31/06 Chrissy Laughing is good for the soul... Loved it 5 stars
3/16/06 Ben Z Poorly done clishes peppered with pedantic platitudes but other than that it's still awful. 1 stars
3/14/06 andrew a fabulous film 5 stars
3/01/06 lesha Damn! Tyler Perry made a hit. 5 stars
2/22/06 toya it was a good movie it dhows what every day people go through in life 5 stars
2/20/06 Tanya It is a decent film could be better 3 stars
1/24/06 irsten I think the critics are comepletly wrong, funny how they like movies everyone hates lol 5 stars
1/12/06 Zanieta Cannon I believe that this movie is off da chain. Keep doin what you are doin tyler perry!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/04/06 JO this movie was so hilarious! tyler perry is a wonderful writer and definately NOT tacky. 5 stars
1/02/06 cody a very good movie that not only funny but had good story to boot, with great perf. 4 stars
12/08/05 Sandra Lawe very juvenile 1 stars
10/28/05 Susie This film is about family, forgiveness, and love. Very funny. "You will reap what you sow" 5 stars
10/19/05 Damon Gentry It was great!!! 5 stars
10/17/05 dekko What a mess. (hold it--"Ex-Black" House Wife? Eh?) 2 stars
10/11/05 Shekita Jamison the movie was GREAT! 5 stars
10/09/05 A Mad Ex-Black House Wife It was a comedy with a msg! Too each his own. Don't like, don't watch it. More crap Perry 5 stars
8/15/05 Bad Critic What the hell did I just watch? Literally one of the worst movies I've ever seen! 1 stars
7/21/05 Shena Johnson This movie really opened up my eyes to a true marriage, I think marriage can wait. 4 stars
7/17/05 R. Romero Really enjoyed this movie. No violaence. Just a good story about a housewife who got screwe 4 stars
7/09/05 Earthell Paul-Branch I can tell previous 4 reviews just don't have a clue 5 stars
7/07/05 jee ann I really liked the move 4 stars
7/02/05 Eric Rollins Diary of Mad Movie-fan who saw this Crap! 1 stars
6/30/05 Candy In order to appreciate the message in the movie, you must have experienced diverse cultures 5 stars
4/09/05 8th_Samurai humor is pretty lame 2 stars
3/09/05 S.R. Worth a look. Pretty darn good for the first movie time. Flip Wilson would be impressed. 4 stars
3/04/05 frances ignore the critics 4 stars
3/02/05 Erik The Movieman One of the worst movies ever made. Unbelievably Shitty! 1 stars
3/01/05 Fran Plair I loved this movie 5 stars
2/28/05 Delicious Great Movie 5 stars
2/26/05 Joy Venters SOUNDS GOOD 3 stars
2/26/05 Denise Shmar looks great 2 stars
2/26/05 Kristina Williams there's a HUGE line outside my theater to see this trash. 1 stars
2/26/05 mott the drupal rob schneider is my idol 1 stars
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  25-Feb-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Jun-2005



Directed by
  Darren Grant

Written by
  Tyler Perry

  Kimberly Elise
  Steve Harris
  Shemar Moore
  Tamara Taylor
  Tyler Perry
  Cicely Tyson

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