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Temptation: More Soap Opera Than Film

  • Brandy NorwoodJurnee Smollett-Bell...
  • DramaRomance
  • Tyler Perry
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Temptation: More Soap Opera Than Film

Based on a Tyler Perry play, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor follows the lives of young married couple, Judith (Smollett-Bell) and Brice (Gross).  Their story is told through the eyes and the narration of a marriage counsellor (Coke), who offers the experience of her sister as a cautionary tale.

Having known each other since they were six, Judith and Brice leave their lives of the rural south behind, get married and move to Washington D.C. While Brice ends up working long hours at a local pharmacy, Judith is finding it hard to fit into her new job as the in-house therapist of a millionaire matchmaking firm, run by conceited boss, Janice (Williams). Constantly berated by her snobby, fashion-obsessed co-worker, Eva (Kardashian), for her lack of fashion sense and goody-two-shoes ways, Judith cannot wait for the day when she can finally leave and open up her own counselling practice. 

However, her loyalties are put to the test with the arrival of Harley (Jones); a social media tycoon who is interested in investing in the company – and in Judith herself.  Excited to find an escape from the increasing monotony of her life with Brice, Judith gives into temptation and falls into an affair with Harley. Meanwhile, Brice is preoccupied with offering a helping hand to Melinda (Norwood); a young woman on the run from her ex.

Soon, Judith learns that her new beau isn’t quite the fairytale prince he has made himself out to be and their affair sets some grave consequences into motion.

Taking the lead as the film’s heroine, Smollett-Bell serves up a rather one-dimensional performance and is given several bizarre onscreen transformations and crazy hairdos and, more importantly, she fails to pave the way for audiences to empathise with her. While Gross manages to capture the role of a ‘Mr Nice Guy’ husband reasonably well, his character is never challenged. As for the devil in disguise, bad-boy Jones is in a no-win situation; his playboy character’s gestures are more suited to a fairytale than the modern, sophisticated drama Perry wants this to be. To top things off, the choice of casting reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, only serves to cheapen the production as a whole. With little acting experience, one can only assume that it was a purely tactical choice, designed to maximise box-office results.

As with most of Perry’s work, the idea of marital infidelity, religious values and spousal abuse all play as essential ingredients to the story. However, he never manages to fully grasp the complexities of his character’s relationships and decisions, and, as is the case with many of his films, Temptation feels a little undercooked. Additionally, the artificial-looking set design and the distracting bird’s eye view shots of D.C gives the film a melodramatic, soap-opera feel that is more suited to TV.

In the end, Temptation is everything that one has come to expect from a Tyler Perry production; dramatic, over-sentimental and appallingly underwritten.

Like This? Try

The Family That Preys (2008); Why Did I Get Married (2007), Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)

360 Tip

Tyler Perry wrote the role of Ava specifically for Kim Kardashian. Really?

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