Nobody's Fool (2018) Aug 21, 2019 15:20:40 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Aug 21, 2019 15:20:40 GMT -5
Nobody's Fool (2018)
Directed by: Tyler Perry
Directed by: Tyler Perry
Tika Sumpter, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tiffany Haddish in Nobody's Fool.
Faithful readers will know I've been a bit of a Tyler Perry apologist over the years, despite disliking more of his films than liking them, but the veteran director still can't stop getting in his own way. Nobody's Fool ditches the grating morality play tropes of his previous features, yet substitutes it with the formula of a lukewarm comedy-drama that never commits to being very good at either. It's a stumblebum attempt at stitching a sitcom structure to what ultimately works best as a light-hearted drama with extremely mixed and occasionally contradictory results.
The film follows two polar-opposite sisters: Danica (Tika Sumpter) is a career-focused woman, working at a cushy marketing firm while her sister Tanya (Tiffany Haddish) has just gotten out of jail after a five-year bid and totally lacks a filter. Because their mother (Whoopi Goldberg) doesn't want the responsibility of putting Tanya up in her home, she bestows the chore on the already booked Danica, who is trying to impress her boss with a complex advertising package for a client. She reluctantly accepts, and helps Tanya get back on her feet by getting her a job at a coffee-shop owned by the charming Frank (Omari Hardwick). Frank is hopelessly smitten with Danica, but any chance of a relationship seems futile given that Danica has been communicating with a long-distance boyfriend who, despite having never seen beyond pictures, fits her criteria for an ideal man.
Tanya grows suspicious of Danica's boyfriend, and eventually resorts to hiring Nev Schulman and Max Joseph of MTV's Catfish to see if the man is real or not. When it's determined that he likely isn't, Danica is beside herself, completely removed from work and uninterested in holding Tanya's hand any longer. But this is Frank's chance to show that, despite a checkered past, he can be more than the sum of her meticulously curated list.
As messy and as chock full of subplots as Nobody's Fool is, it can indeed be parsed out in three acts. The first act is sloppy and overdone, with way too much of a focus on Haddish's obnoxious Tanya. Haddish made her splash in Girls Trip, and working off the likes of rowdy and exuberant costars such as Regina Hall and Jada Pinkett-Smith, she managed to provide a lot of energy. Here, however, she's on an island, sporadically witty with her quips, and most of the time, she (and Perry, who feeds her the dialog) mistakes comedy for making sure she yells all her dialog. The schtick gets tiresome very quickly.
The second act sets the drama in motion by having Tanya investigate Danica's long-distance boyfriend "Charlie." The presence of Schulman and Joseph (undoubtedly thanks to MTV being a fellow Viacom company as BET, and this film is the first product of BET Films) adds a little validity, and really helps the film find a pace in which it functions; plus they're fun screen presences. With that, Danica and Frank finding out they're more compatible than they (IE: Danica) initially believed is enjoyable, if standard, fare.
However, the third act does all it can to derail the grace established prior. It starts off very well, introducing an unforeseen twist, but childishly discards it so that Danica can end up with the "right guy." The climax offered (literally) comes horribly out of left-field, and reminds us that the film, contrary to what it's led us to believe for the past 40 minutes, still has the maturity level of Haddish's Tanya character.
Much of the "praise," and I use that term very loosely, has been relegated to Haddish and Goldberg, who I found to be pretty lazy in her role as a weed-smoking Aunt Bam clone, but no one is talking about Sumpter, the gold-star of the picture. It's to her credit that the film's conflicts and dramatic moments are given any credibility, as she shines even with some fairly limp material.
All that being said, it is reassuring to see Perry ditch the condescending moralism that often lead his Madea films to fall victim of an identity crisis, especially with that franchise behind him. Even if the film feels like a compilation of three or four sitcom episodes, Perry's willingness to embrace an R-rating is long overdue. Nobody's Fool is hopefully a stepping stone to better, richer comic material, although I wouldn't hold my breath. Perry sometimes flukes his way into making effective comedies, such as A Madea Christmas, but this flick, from every angle, is too scatter-brained to embrace.
Starring: Tika Sumpter, Tiffany Haddish, Whoopi Goldberg, Omari Hardwick, Mehcad Brooks, Missi Pyle, Nev Schulman, and Max Joseph. Directed by: Tyler Perry.