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Article by Teddy Durgin

Single Moms Club: May Divorce Be With You

There is nothing overly bad or wrong with writer-director Tyler Perry's latest movie, "The Single Moms Club." It's certainly well-meaning. In fact, it is very well-meaning. OK, I would even go so far as to say it is excruciatingly well-meaning. But therein lies the problem. It's OK to make a nice movie; a clean movie; a movie about nice, clean characters in messy relationships... but, uh, don't make that film and those characters SO FREAKIN' DULL! At least three times during this film I found myself drifting off to Sleepy Time. Two hours of whiny characters bitching about money, their kids, their jobs and the hunky new men in their lives - and I'm talkin' cover-of-Harlequin-romance-novel hunky - is not my idea of entertainment. Tyler thinks he's writing with a woman's voice here. But I think he's spent too much time in the dress. This is a really low-energy, low-ambition film. All "The Single Moms Club" really wants to do is open up its arms for two hours and give all of the screw-up single moms, ex-wives and put-upon lady laborers a big ol' collective hug. To quote a poet from my generation, "If that's your best, your best won't do." The story follows five single mothers who are called to their kids' swank private school one day after their little darlings get caught spray-painting the premises and smoking cigarettes after class. Rather than expel the little imps, the school forces the five moms to team up and put on a school dance. The five include: Jan (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a workaholic book agent who got pregnant via artificial insemination and has been celibate for 10 years; Esperanza (Zulay Henao), a divorcee who has been secretly dating a man for a year, but is still controlled by her mentally abusive ex-husband; Hillary (Amy Smart), a new divorcee who just had her spousal and child support slashed by a judge and suddenly has to raise three kids without a maid or nanny; May (Nia Long), an aspiring author who tries to shield her son from his drug-addicted dad; and Lytia (Cocoa Brown), a blue-collar waitress working her fingers to the bone to send her son to the expensive school and keep him off the streets. How mean are his streets? Yikes, some kid calls him a "momma's boy!" At any rate, these different personalities form the club of the film's title. But then... uh... they just don't do anything interesting with that club! It immediately turns into a rotating babysitting ring that allows four of the five ladies to go out each Saturday night to the movies or to a wine bar or to Chippendale's while the fifth stays home with all of their collective spawn (who, of course, magically all go to sleep together like little angels each and every time). In Perry's way-nice and forgiving world, each of the gals indeed gets her own good-hearted hunk to replace an absolute heel from her past, each get words of wisdom told to them at just the right moments and they all line up one right after another in the last 10 minutes for one happy ending after another. When did my happy ending come? Yeah, you guessed it.

When the end credits rolled. "The Single Mom's Club" is rated PG-13 for some sexual material and thematic elements.


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