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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Single Moms Club 2014 * * 1/2 Stars

The Single Moms ClubDirector: Tyler Perry
Year: 2014
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Nia Long, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Amy Smart

Life can be tough, especially for a single mom. In fact, what happens when you get five of them together forming a support group to get through life's everyday ups and downs? Why, you get the generically titled The Single Moms Club of course and it's the latest of many Tyler Perry films that have inhabited local multiplexes in the last few years.

Filmed almost entirely in Atlanta, Georgia and showcasing scenes of females conversing that are the equivalent to a taping of The View (if that's your thing), The Single Moms Club is proof that maybe Hollywood might have ran out of ideas for cinematic fluff in general. Now from the opening frame, we are immediately introduced to May (Nia Long), Hillary (Amy Smart), Lytia (Cocoa Brown), Esperanza (Zulay Henao), and Jan Malkovich (Wendi McLendon-Covey). These are all women who are either currently separated, divorced, or have baby daddies who were never around (except for Esperanza's who's played by Eddie Cibrian and he's the ultimate Nazi ex-husband). Added to that, their kids don't like them very much and blame them for not fully being present in their daily lives. Somehow by sure kismet (otherwise there wouldn't be a valid running time), all of said kids go to the same school, get in trouble at the same time, and all face harsh penalties as students. When the principal of their private school calls all the moms in for a meeting, these five completely different women are forced to organize a fundraiser or else their offspring will be expelled (what a weird form of punishment). What ensues is a bond of sisterhood that ultimately betters all of their future existences and as the plot requires, helps them find new relationships in the form of significant others.

The acting, well it's fair as long as everyone doesn't say whatever pops in their heads. I mean, you could tell during some scenes that the actors/actresses paused as if they didn't remember their lines and had to gulp, improvise. I could hear crickets in background. You know not literally, but in my head (I hate when that happens).

Overall, once I finished taking in a midday viewing, I realized that The Single Moms Club came off as a very uneven viewing experience. The film drips with sentimental goo and shifts its tone from funny, to uncomfortable, to flat out depressing ever so quickly. There are some heartfelt moments between members of the cast (especially amongst the mothers, the sons, and the daughters) that are effectively powerful. But with an underdeveloped conclusion, some embarrassingly bad line riffing from the actors as mentioned earlier (especially during the outtakes at the end), and a demeaning label that seems saddled to their roles, it was difficult to call this thing inspiring.

In hindsight though, I didn't find The Single Moms Club to be a bad film. I just found it to be almost mean-spirited, too coincidental, and vaguely aloof. Let me put it this way, it's a "club" worth checking out only if you avoid going to all the meetings.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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