Meet the Browns
Rated PG-13; Directed by Tyler Perry; Starring Angela Bassett, Rick Fox, Lance Gross, David Mann, Jenifer Lewis, Sofia Vergara, Irma P. Hall, Frankie Faison, Margaret Avery
Meet the Browns offers a strange mix of drama and over-the-top comedy. Throw in a little heavy melodrama to liven things up and you have a weird mish-mash of a movie. It helps that director Tyler Perry (Medea’s Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married?) knows how to cast actors who can play the over-the-top comedy.
Brenda (Angela Bassett) lives in the Chicago projects with her three children. Barely making ends meet, she goes to work one day and discovers the place has closed down. She’s at her wit’s end — there is no money for food, the electric bill, or new shoes for her basketball-playing son, Michael (Lance Gross). On the bright side, Michael’s playing has come to the attention of Harry Belton (Rick Fox), a scout and coach. As the bad overtakes the good in Brenda’s life, she gets news that her father has died. This leads to a trip to Georgia where she meets the Browns.
David Mann and Jenifer Lewis steal the show as Leroy Brown and Vera, changing the tone of the film. Mann especially keeps things fun, and it is worth sitting through the credits to watch the outtakes. Bassett capably plays Brenda’s desperation and then the slow appreciation of Harry’s qualities (he just happens to live in the same town as the Browns).
Too bad the movie’s script goes for the melodrama and tries to do too much, some of it not well. Tyler Perry even shows up as Medea in an incomprehensible segment. You also have to sit through a lot of clichéd plot points, but you do have actors who make you laugh.