I know the name ‘Tyler Perry’ can trigger immediate anger, but I take his projects as they come and judge them on their own merit and not on whether I like the man or not...which brings us to Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.
The story centres on Judith, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who is married to her childhood sweetheart Brice, played by Lance Gross. Judith like many women who are good at what they do, has seemingly hit a plateau in her life and is starting to feel unfulfilled. Her marriage lacks adventure and excitement, she is over-qualified for her job and the culmination of the two has prepared her to want leave of the city and start afresh.
Entering Judith’s life via work is Harley (Robbie Jones) a self-made millionaire who exploits Judith’s mid-life crisis and fuels her ambitious side eventually seducing her to be with him in mind and body.
"The supposed twist is so frikkin obvious that the fact that it was considered a twist shows that Tyler needs to source independent groups to watch his films pre-release."
Now critics have jumped on the bandwagon in slating this movie and okay, it’s not the greatest of films; there are some silly bits that you might have allowed for a TV movie, but for a bigger feature no way. The casting choices could have been thought out a bit more, as for example; Judith’s husband Brice looks and is built like a top model – who in the hell is leaving him for the alternative? Narrative wise; the church sermons are preached too much, if this element was placed in the film with subtlety it could have worked quite well, but scenes go straight into cliché, raising up melodrama, which I don’t want to see in a film post the 1960s.
The supposed twist is so frikkin obvious, that the fact that it was considered a twist shows that Tyler needs to source independent groups, to watch his films pre-release, who will be brutally honest with him. Overall the film would make a great Made-For-TV movie, but it’s not quite up there with the likes of Motives or the Trois films or even Tyler’s own The Family That Preys and Why Did I Get Married. However the themes of; people becoming more in tune with their true selves as they enter their 30s, the grass not being greener on the other side - just different, the folly of taking your partner for granted and the dangerous path of not updating your marriage trajectory, all ring loud and true and tthese positives I took from this story.
Temptation is a cautionary tale, it isn’t about lust, sex, money or power, it is about fulfilment or the lack of and what weeds can creep in and around your flower of a marriage if you stop noticing the needs of your partner.