Meg’s Tip: “Single Mom’s Club” gets a penalty whistle early on, but gradually transitions back from the sideline to met by cheers from single women everywhere.
Tyler Perry's new film, “The Single Moms Club,” strives to extend its reach outward to a larger audience, but breaks its own neck one-third of the way through the plot.
After the director's box office success and award nominations for “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” he makes another return to the screen with “The Single Moms Club.” It’s rated PG-13 and has been running for general audiences since March 14.
Produced by Lions Gate, “The Single Moms Club” joins five mothers who lead different lives yet hold one thing in common — they’re single and like the idea of forming a club for moms. Though it may seem like an unlikely grouping, their childrens' poor behavior at school lumps them together to organize a fundraiser.
The casting for the film boasts several household names. Tyler Perry stars as T.K. alongside Nia Long (“Big Momma’s House” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) who assumes the role of May. T.K. comes off as a loving family man and potential love interest for May. As a single, black, middle-class mother supporting her son, she struggles just to get by and doesn’t know what to do about T.K.’s advances.
The other women also attest to the struggles that being a single mother presents. Jan, played by Wendi McLendon-Covey, is a snarky, stuck-up publishing executive with a gusto for bursting other people’s bubbles.
Her personality rubs both Lytia (Cocoa Brown), a black working-class mother, and the audience the wrong way on so many levels. It’s no secret that Tyler Perry films tend to appeal to a more narrow audience and the filmmaker's attempt to broaden his reach with “The Single Moms Club” actually does not satisfy regulars or newcomers.
The film hits a snag and just floats in an air of tension about a third of the way through because of “humor” loaded with racial undertones that just sink. This problem stems from less than stellar screenwriting.
Even so, Perry’s film manages to bounce to life with the sashaying seductiveness of Zulay Henao’s Esperanza and the clueless, privileged and warmhearted comedic portrayal of Amy Smart’s Hillary.
Apart from the light comedic relief that the cast interspersed throughout the film, the real rage here was the film’s take on romance. Terry Crews plays Branson who wears his heart on his sleeve and steadily pursues Lytia. It’s quite a sight to see from the former NFL player turned actor who is known for his roles on “Everybody Hates Chris” and “White Chicks.”
With all the film's ups and downs, the ending surprises as a tear-jerker.
Along with that, there are so many false understandings about what it is like to be a single mother. This film does wonders in revealing truth and more universally, catering to the idea of letting go of those predisposed notions.
Whether you’re heartbroken, enjoying the single life, or a sucker for love, consider what Hillary’s love interest Peter (Ryan Eggold) stated best. “You don’t have to be good at starting over, just got to be good at letting go.”