Tyler Perry has had almost as much success inciting vitriol as he's had making millions-- so it can be easy to forget that there's a reason his films are wildly successful. Yes, they play to an audience that has been greatly underserved by Hollywood, and each is stamped by formulas that effectively support a larger moralistic worldview. But those formulas, sadly, lack insight or originality. Temptation is a conservative morality tale in which young married therapist Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) begins to fall for a billionaire, Harley (Robbie Jones), who may be investing in her matchmaking company. The film exists in a universe where workplace sexual harassment is the unquestioned norm, conservative ideas about women's social roles are exalted above women's professional ambitions, and Kim Kardashian is a reasonable choice for a role involving acting. The narrative hinges on an unearned turn: Judith's billionaire-affair goes from one in which she's freed from her ungrateful, inconsiderate husband to one in which she and Harley turn into coked-addled deviants overnight. Perry has some worthwhile filmic models--Temptation gestures at Woody Allen in its setup, and Douglas Sirk in its melodrama-- but he isn't even in the same star cluster as those greats. He manages a few touching moments, notably a scene in which Judith's husband (Lance Gross) does a naked-cowboy rendition of "Try a Little Tenderness," but Temptation's refusal to find nuance in its didactic worldview ensures that the film will ultimately only succeed for audiences already in agreement with it.
Tyler PerryJurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Williams, Robbie Jones, Renée Taylor, Ella Joyce, Brandy NorwoodTyler PerryTyler PerryLionsgate Films