Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Family That Preys opens many eyes

Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard star as the matriarchs of two very different families being torn apart by greed and scandal in the contemporary drama Tyler Perry's The Family that Preys. The sixth feature film by Perry chronicles the inner workings of two families—one upper-crust and the other working class—that become inextricably linked by scandal. Wealthy socialite Charlotte Cartwright (Kathy Bates) and her dear friend Alice Pratt (Alfre Woodard), a working class woman of high ideals, have enjoyed a lasting friendship throughout many years. Suddenly, their lives become mired in turmoil as their adult children’s extramarital affairs, unethical business practices and a dark paternity secret threaten to derail family fortunes and unravel the lives of all involved. Alice’s self-centered newlywed daughter Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) is betraying her trusting husband Chris (Rockmond Dunbar) by engaging in a torrid affair with her boss and mother’s best friend’s son William (Cole Hauser). While cheating on his wife Jillian (Kadee Strickland) with a string of ongoing dalliances with his mistress Andrea, William’s true focus is to replace the COO of his mother’s lucrative construction corporation. Meanwhile, Alice’s other daughter Pam (Taraji Henson), a kind but no nonsense woman married to a hard working construction worker (Tyler Perry), tries to steer the family in a more positive direction. While paternity secrets, marital infidelity, greed and unsavory business dealings threaten to derail both families, Charlotte and Alice decide to take a breather from it all by making a cross-country road trip in which they rediscover themselves and possibly find a way to save their families from ruin in Tyler Perry's The Family that Preys.

For too long Tyler Perry has been one of the best kept secrets of the entertainment industry. His movies consistently open up as either number one or number two and go on to earn a substantial profit. The subject matter of his films is generally simple and the delivery is totally entertaining from start to finish.The dialogue is sharp and dramatic when it needs to be, and glib and funny when that suits the story. He has created characters with whom the audience can identify and the story boils down to a simple good versus evil morality tale.The acting, especially that of Woodard and Bates, is excellent. All of the supporting roles add into the mix to make a compelling family drama. There are no weak points and wonder of wonders no slow points. The film moves quickly from one aspect of the story to the next but never feels rushed. You get a chance to learn these characters and to understand them. “Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys” is the kind of movie people ask for every day. It has good values, strong performances, and a strong script. A definite must see. This gets a 4 on my "Go See" scale.

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