Tyler Perry is back with his 14th installment, “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.” Exploring the realm of lust, betrayal, truth and lies; this flick reveals a story within a story.
Childhood sweethearts Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Bryce (Lance Gross) move to Washington D.C. from their southern home town to chase big dreams. Judith wants to eventually open her own marriage counseling business, but to make ends meet she works at a swanky match making company with the materialistic Ava (Kim Kardashian) and her not-so-french boss Janice (Vanessa Williams). Judith is bland in her appearance at work and this allows for ridicule from Ava who feels she needs to step her game up.
Bryce, on the other hand, works at a local pharmacy that is owned by a wise cracking and humorous old lady by the name of Chapman (Renee Taylor). His other co-worker is Melinda (Brandy) who helps stocks boxes at the store. Melinda has a dark cloud around her that Bryce and Chapman can’t put their fingers on. Sooner or later her story will be intertwined with Bryce’s – but to tell you the truth, you will figure it out on your own, long before it’s even revealed.
The humble and seemingly happy small town couple is definitely not living a luxurious life but their love seems to keep them together. That is, until their storyline is turned on its melodramatic head when Harley (Robbie Jones) struts into the picture. This character who happens to be one of the richest and wealthiest bachelors in D.C. is a master manipulator and uses his money to slowly get into Judith’s mind and her pants. He is also hiding a bombshell of a secret that won’t be revealed until the end of the movie.
The storyline gets interesting when Judith slowly starts to change into another person. Raised by a highly religious mother (Ella Joyce), she tries to face herself in the mirror but slowly, she doesn’t recognize her reflection. Bryce doesn’t notice her personality shift at first and adds fuel to the fire when he forgets her birthday for the second year in a row. Of course the object of her lust does not and he garners some brownie points from the lost soul. Judith slowly starts to feel that she is missing out on something and fills that void with Harley, eventually ending with dire and depressing consequences.
Overall, the acting is great. Robbie Jones is believable and is a breakout star in my opinion. Never heard of him until now, but will be looking out for him in upcoming movies. Jurnee Smollett-Bell played her role really well and as a fan I was pleased. That is, until they started this crazy shift in the character that was too volatile to be believable.
Rounding out the great acting is Lance Gross and Brandy. Both gave great performances and really carried the movie during some of it’s lackluster scenes. Even though her character lacked some depth, Kim Kardashain wasn’t that bad and all the hoopla last year about her getting that role wasn’t really needed. As with all Tyler Perry movies, there is a preachy vibe, especially with a certain scene with Judith’s mother, but it doesn’t take away from the film that much.
In conclusion, Tyler Perry still missed a few marks with Temptation. The ending left the audience shaking their heads and while the credits rolled one movie goer even shouted, “that ending was depressing!” I was expecting just a little bit more with this movie, but all I got was a slow moving sad story that left me feeling awkward.