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Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?

John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Fans of the prolific—and often predictable—Tyler Perry will find themselves on familiar terrain with his ninth film project in five years, the sequel "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?" (Lionsgate). Though dramatically uneven, this mix of comedy and drama is, for the most part, a morally steady examination of the challenges and rewards of committed marital love.

The writer-director reunites the eight old college friends—all upwardly mobile African-Americans—whose relationships he explored in his 2007 hit "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" for another of their annual marriage retreats, this time in the Bahamas.

Providing most of the comic relief, once again, is Tasha Smith as salon owner Angela, the hyper-suspicious and ever-quarrelsome mate of ex-NFL player and current sportscaster Marcus (Michael Jai White).

At the other end of the emotional spectrum is Janet Jackson as Patricia, the successful self-help author whose talent at counseling others is ironically contrasted with her own excessive perfectionism and inability to express her feelings openly, traits which steadily undermine her marriage to architect Gavin (Malik Yoba).

The breakdown of their relationship eventually leads not only to harsh verbal exchanges but to an unsettling physical confrontation involving drunken, semi-abusive behavior by Gavin.

Herself a victim of both physical and emotional abuse in the past, Sheila (Jill Scott) has split with her rotten ex, Mike (Richard T. Jones), and found a supportive new spouse in Troy (Lamman Rucker). But Troy's ongoing unemployment is putting their bond to the test, while Mike's unwelcome appearance at the retreat—motivated, partially at least, by his remorseful desire to win Sheila back—adds a further strain.

Perry's character Terry, who was feeling neglected by his work-obsessed lawyer wife, Dianne (Sharon Leal), at the last get-together, now has doubts about her fidelity.

While implicitly endorsing Sheila's remarriage, the script is otherwise all about dedication and stability. But the highlighted values—such as open communication and self-giving love—do not rest on a spiritual foundation and, unlike some of Perry's other offerings, faith has no explicit influence on the characters' lives.

The mention of one wife's past decision to have her "tubes tied" will strike Catholic viewers as another flaw in the fabric of what is, overall, an ethically sound—though occasionally cliched—survey of married life.

The film contains brief, nongraphic marital lovemaking, a nonmarital bedroom scene, intense domestic discord, adultery theme, numerous sexual references, including mention of sterilization and venereal disease, drug references and frequent crass language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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