Why Did I Get Married Too?
One go-around with the four dysfunctional couples in Why Did I Get Married? apparently wasn't enough. And so Tyler Perry is back for seconds. Will these couples come up with a suitable answer for their titular question this time?
Trust is like a car engine. If you take good care of it, it'll take you wherever you want to go. If it breaks, it won't. Here's the catch: A neglected engine doesn't always break down all at once. No, it wears down … through abuse, through misuse. And then one day it just stops, leaving you stranded and alone.
The couples in Why Did I Get Married Too? feel their marital engines sputtering. Terry wonders whether his wife, Dianne, is having an affair. Angela—worried about the same thing with her hubby, Marcus—is peeved because he won't give her his cell phone password. Troy's trust issues are more about himself—can he trust himself to find a job and provide for his family?—than they are about his wife, Sheila. Meanwhile, Sheila longs for Troy to trust her more, as hardship in marriage is a burden that should be shared. And then there's Gavin, who wonders whether his wife Pat can trust him—or anyone—enough to let them in. Ever since their son died 13 years ago, she's been emotionally distant but insists that everything is fine.
And so these four couples head to the Bahamas for a vacation that's part marriage retreat, part reunion. It's a trip that will culminate in a beachside confessional, where each person will recall why they married their spouses, and why they're (ultimately) happy that they did.
It seems an ideal site to tinker with those marital engines.
But that scheduled maintenance gets interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Mike, Sheila's ex-husband. Seems he owns part of a time-share for the group's lavish beach house, and he's determined to join his ex-wife and ex-friends in the festivities. Mike promises disingenuously that he won't be trouble. Don't worry, he tells the other vacationers (in so many words). I'll be good. Sweet, even.
Yeah, sweet like sugar in a gas tank.
Tyler Perry's movies are all, on some level, morality plays. Sure, his main purpose is to entertain. But he wants to give us something to think about, too. With Why Did I Get Married Too?, a sequel to the similarly themed Why Did I Get Married?, Perry again trains his storytelling eye on marriage: why it can be wonderful, why it can be so hard and why faltering unions are worth fixing.
Much of the behavior here isn't laudable, of course, but it isn't meant to be. All the relationships we see are broken or breaking. Before the film ends, Pat and Gavin find themselves embroiled in an acrimonious divorce. But theirs is a bitter cautionary tale, one that Perry uses as a narrative foil to illustrate the fragility of a neglected union. In the end, Pat is left with nothing but regret, and she tearfully tells her struggling friends, "Love one another, please. Fix it, fix it, fix it!"
And so they do. Or at least they try. Terry learns his wife has been having an emotional (though not physical) affair. But Dianne, shamed and contrite, confesses her love for Terry and promises never to see the other man again.
Troy and Sheila struggle with lots of issues. Once Troy gets a job, he must grapple with the fact that Mike (at Sheila's request) secretly helped him get it. Troy eventually lays aside his pride, however, and he and Sheila are able to sort through their differences and disagreements. "Married people argue," Troy says, "even in a good marriage. And we have a good marriage." Throughout those challenges, Shelia is determined to resist Mike's manipulative ways and to avoid making the same mistakes in her second marriage that she made in her first.
Even Angela, who's convinced Marcus is cheating on her (he isn't), has a moment in which she realizes that she should swap her suspicion for trust.
An elderly couple in the Bahamas, who've been married 55 years, relate how they got married. After being widowed, the woman says that she was praying in church, asking God to help her find a place where she and her three children could stay. Then, she says, she looked up and "saw an angel"—her future husband.
After someone dies, mourners release balloons to commemorate that person's passing. "May your soul rest in eternal peace," says one. A character believes the beauty of the Bahamas proves God's existence. Another person observes, "When things fall into place, you just got to be grateful to God."
Infidelity is a big theme here: who's cheating, who wants to and who suspects it.
Angela suspects her husband of infidelity at every turn. When an airline employee professes to be a fan of Marcus (he's on a cable sports show), Angela calls her a "ho." And when she suspects he's been coming home in the afternoons to have sex with someone else (a neighbor tells her that she hears "sexual" noises from their bedroom), she accosts him at his TV studio—again flinging the word "ho" around to describe his presumed mistress. When she finally goes to catch Marcus in the act—with a gun—she instead finds her maintenance man in bed with another woman. Their coupling is loud enough to be heard outside the house.
Dianne, meanwhile, hides the card from flowers she receives, wears lacy undergarments to work and mistakenly calls Terry "Phil." Terry asks her if a recent lovemaking session was especially passionate because she was fantasizing about the other guy, and she tearfully admits that it was.
Audiences see Marcus on top of Angela (a prelude to what Marcus refers to as rough "makeup sex") while she's in her underwear. Sexual sounds can be heard from their window. Terry and Dianne are shown tenderly talking in bed, after which Dianne volunteers to draw them a bath. We also see her straddling her husband at one point. Several couples smooch.
Angela runs around the beach in a bikini, and we see both her and Dianne's bare shoulders. Pat regularly wears clothes that display a great deal of cleavage, as do each of the other women at certain points. Men are shown shirtless.
Marcus couches sexual references in football lingo ("crossing the goal line"). Pat hires a cross-dressing entertainer to jump out of a cake as a malicious "surprise" for her husband. Conversations among the men, especially, revolve around their sexual relationships with their wives.
Pat and Gavin tear their marriage to shreds as Gavin, who's been drinking as he packs to move out, grabs Pat and throws her down to the couch. He presses his body and face against hers because she refuses to listen to him. Pat tries to fight back, thrashing about, even trying to bite him. Though neither hits the other, they're both shaking with rage. Gavin eventually releases her, then burns a photo album—a visual reminder that their past together is done.
After Pat changes the locks, Gavin breaks in (to retrieve his belongings) by tossing a potted plant through the front door. She's still home, though, and she grabs Gavin's golf clubs and goes on a rampage, smashing everything in sight—tables, shelves, shells, you name it. She also throws things at Gavin and two friends.
Angela and Marcus scuffle twice. When she thinks he's with someone else in their bedroom, she arms herself with a butcher knife, then a gun, before charging into the room and shooting the pistol at the ceiling.
Troy punches Mike. A car crash kills someone. Sheila reminds Mike that he once threw her into a kitchen wall and that another incident resulted in her nose bleeding all over the bathroom tile. A reference is made to someone having committed suicide. Characters talk crudely about putting a bullet in someone's behind.
Crude or Profane Language
About 25 uses of "d‑‑n," another 25 of "h‑‑‑" and almost 15 of "a‑‑." Other profanities include "b‑‑ch," "b‑‑tard" and "p‑‑‑." God's name is misused at least three times.
Drug and Alcohol Content
"I came here to drink," Angela tells her friends upon arrival in the Bahamas. And that she does. We watch her and others down wine, beer, margaritas and a variety of other alcoholic beverages. Rare is the scene in which someone isn't drinking. "You better be glad I'm not on crack," Angela says, guzzling out of a flask.
But the negative affects of drinking alcohol are also on display. Sheila makes the point that Angela's intuition regarding Marcus' alleged cheating might be unreliable because she drinks so much. "What is this, an intervention?" Angela asks. Elsewhere, Gavin's drunken confrontation with Pat is disturbing to say the least.
References are made to cocaine and marijuana. Pat's shown smoking a cigarette.
Other Negative Elements
Much of the conflict in Married Too has to do with deception. Marcus gets busted for carrying a hither-to-unknown cell phone (after Angela confiscated his other one). Sheila asks Mike to help Troy get a job on the condition that Mike never breathes a word of it to Troy (who finds out anyway). Pat lies to everyone, reassuring her friends that she and Gavin are "fine." And Dianne hides her own illicit relationship from Terry.
Angela's paranoid suspicion of Marcus knows no bounds. She tells her friends that she checks her husband's mileage, sniffs his after-work odor and even monitors his heart rate when he comes home. Every variation validates her assumption that he's having an affair.
Last year, I talked with director Tyler Perry about his film I Can Do Bad All by Myself. During the interview, which involved a handful of other Christian outlets, Perry was asked why all his films have almost irredeemable bad guys.
"Part of it may be my own personal thing, in dealing with the years and years and years of my father being this person as dark and evil as he was to me," he said. " Maybe I'm waiting for him to change so I can see some other people be redeemed. I don't know."
I can't say whether Perry's father has changed. But it seems that, perhaps, Perry has.
In Why Did I Get Married Too? we do not have a prototypical Perry villain. Instead, we see something that, to me, strikes closer to reality: flawed people making mistakes. Sometimes terrible, life-changing mistakes.
I know many people who've gotten divorced, as perhaps you do, people who said their relationships weren't worth the trouble anymore. Sometimes those splits were amicable. Sometimes they were bitter. A few involved a real villain—someone who was violent, abusive, deceptive, mean. But far more often the relationships simply eroded over time. Somewhere along the line, something went wrong. Couples stopped talking, stopped listening, or both.
Perry's movies, like marriage itself, are always filled with the "better" and "worse." Married Too is filled with crass language, sexual situations and some scenes that made me want to look away.
But in the midst of it all, he also tells us that marriages are worth fighting for, no matter how far gone things seem. And so we should fight to see our unions through their own periods of better and worse, of sickness and health, of highs and lows. In short, we should embrace every precious minute.
Because with careful attention and regular maintenance, Why Did I Get Married Too? insists, a good marriage can run for a very long time.