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Review: Acrimony (2018)

Acrimony (2018)

Directed by: Tyler Perry

Premise: A woman (Taraji P. Henson) marries an ambitious inventor (Lyriq Bent) against the advice of her sisters. Their marriage suffers when his dream project doesn’t take off and her anger gradually gets the better of her. 

What Works: The only good thing to say about Acrimony is that the film is unintentionally hilarious. Acrimony isn’t just sloppily made or badly acted. This film is a cinematic hat trick of bad moviemaking. Acrimony combines the production values of The Room with the illogical plotting of The Book of Henry and a lead performance by Taraji P. Henson that is worthy of comparison to Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest. It’s the kind of fiasco that is strangely entertaining in the way only a particular kind of bad movie can achieve.

What Doesn’t: So much is wrong with Acrimony that’s it’s daunting to know where to start. Among the film’s most obvious problems is that it looks like hell. Acrimony is frequently ugly with bad framing, terrible lighting, and lousy editing. The production budget on Acrimony was reportedly $20 million but if that’s true it’s unclear where the money was spent. Several scenes look awfully fake. A few sequences appear to be composite shots with the actors working against a background that was inserted in post-production. The climax takes place on a yacht at sea but the sequence looks as though it was shot in a pool.  Youtube videos have better production values than this slop. The movie casts different actors to play younger and older versions of the lead characters but the performers don’t look like one another at all. No one in Acrimony behaves like a recognizable human being. It isn’t simply that the characters make mistakes. They are so stupid as to be unbelievable.  The crux of the story is that a woman from a well off family marries an impoverished inventor with a big idea. Her sisters see him as a skullduggerous deadbeat using her for the family fortune. For nearly two decades, he keeps working on the invention and they end up in financial ruin because the couple makes obviously stupid money decisions. In all that time, the husband repeatedly pitches his invention to a single electronics company. He never shops the idea around or attempts to monetize the concept himself. With their finances destroyed, the wife is finally fed up with his dreams and here the movie makes a turn. Taraji P. Henson’s character supposedly has anger management issues and possibly bipolar disorder but the actress veers so jarringly from meek housewife to vicious psychopath that Henson seems like she’s in completely different movies from one scene to the next. In an attempt to smooth over the transitions, Henson is given an awful narration to read and as the character sinks further into her delusions Henson chews the scenery in a terrible performance. The film’s portrayal of women is the latest in a sting of troubling films from Tyler Perry and Acrimony gradually becomes misogynistic. The lead character is an unsympathetic psychopath but the other women of Acrimony aren’t much better. The sisters connive in ways that exacerbate their sibling’s mental disorder and the good woman who eventually pairs with the inventor is photographed in an exploitative way.  

Bottom Line: Acrimony is one of the worst movies Tyler Perry has made and that is saying something. It is an awful mess of a film whose only redeeming quality is its unintentional comedy.

Episode: #693 (April 8, 2018)