November 06, 2010 10:42am PT by Tim Appelo
Will 'For Colored Girls' Blindside Tyler Perry's Critics?
Tyler Perry has a passionate fan base, but when the director, whose movies have exuberantly crude humor, took on Ntozake Shange's pained, poignantly poetic For Colored Girls, it was the oddest matchup since Steven Spielberg's Stanley Kubrick movie A.I., or maybe Mad Magazine's “If Edgar Allan Poe Had Written Casey at the Bat.” The star and writer of The Diary of a Mad Black Woman tackling a brilliant, clinically bipolar black woman's esoterically diaristic literary/stage phenom?
But now it's been talked up by big critics like the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, the Los Angeles Times’ Betsy Sharkey, Mick LaSalle, and...practically nobody else except Ain't It Cool News, which called it, with characteristically Henry Jamesian restraint, "one of the best movies...all year!!!"
Movieline boldly, rashly asks, "Is For Colored Girls This Year's Blind Side?” That seems a stretch. But if it wants to make an Oscar run, Lionsgate will be downplaying Perry's hearty, farty reputation and pointing out that
Rottentomatoes' smelly 34 percent critics' rating is neatly balanced by the 77 percent of the RT and Flixster audience that likes or wants to see it. Expect Lionsgate to monitor the film's startling upsurge closely before deciding whom to throw promotional weight behind. The likeliest For Colored Girls Oscar beneficiary out of a prestigious cast: Kimberly Elise, Tyler's Mad Black Woman star herself. Lionsgate ain't saying yet what kind of award push it’s planning for For Colored Girls. It’s got another big Oscar hopeful in Nicole Kidman’s Rabbit Hole (#10 on the Movie City News Gurus o'Gold best picture list) that’s sure to get the full-court press.
Will there by any males of any color attending For Colored Girls? Perhaps the sex barrier has been broken. “I manned up to see Colored Girls,” says Hollywood-Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells, “but I couldn't make myself do it. If I could get out of seeing any movie by Tyler Perry, I would. But I don't think I can get away with it.”