As I said in my review for "Madea's Family Reunion: The Movie," I was really excited to see Brown in a movie. In March 2008, I finally got that chance! "Meet the Browns: The Movie" was released, exposing the world to the character Mr. Brown, hilariously played by David A. Mann! How did I like it? Well...I have to be honest, of all of the Tyler Perry movies at the time, this one felt like the weakest.
Now, that's not to say this movie is bad at all! It's really good! For me, personally, there was just one thing holding this movie back from being as good as it could be. But, sadly, it's a big thing, one of the most important things you could have in any story: the exposition. We get the exposition of Brenda and her family: Brenda Brown lives in a poor, urban community in Chicago, Illinois. She has three children and works hard to take care of them all. She seeks help from Michael, Sr., the father of Brenda's oldest child, Michael, Jr. Michael, Sr. doesn't want anything to do with Brenda, his son, or Brenda's family. While we get to know Brenda and her story, we don't get to know Brown. Now, I know that sounds weird for all of us who are familiar with Tyler Perry's plays; we've seen Brown in, what, 5 of Tyler Perry's plays? He's famous to us! But that's the problem. What about the people coming to this movie who don't know who Brown is? The audience for Tyler Perry's productions began when he was touring his theatrical plays, but they grew when he began making movies. A lot of people have yet to meet Brown. Here, he's just being shown to the people who have been waiting for his film debut. Why is that a letdown? Because the jokes don't work here like they do in the play. In the play, we knew why it was funny Cora was both Madea and Brown's daughter; a gun-toting, pot-smoking granny once had a child with a religious, over the top deacon?! And on top of that, they've been quarreling for a long time and don't figure it out until years later? That's insanely hilarious! In the movie, we can't laugh at that because we don't know who Brown is. In the play, it's funny thinking a man like Brown comes from this type of family. In the movie, we don't know who he is, so we can't laugh at that. We get that he can't dress or talk, but those are just characteristics of this funny character. What about the man himself?
Also, here's a nit-pick, what is Lamman Rucker doing in this movie? He has no reason to be here! Was it just to get us ready for the TV show?
Something else that I've heard people talk about is that this movie is not spent enough on Brown or his family, it's about Brenda. Rather than meeting the Browns, we're looking at Brenda's story. Since I've heard from more than one person, maybe it's a problem. I always thought of it as Brenda being as low as she can go until she finds faith and hope by meeting the family she never knew about, the Browns. By meeting the Browns, she's able to get strength and courage back and stand on her feet again. That's what I got out of it. But I do understand where the other people are coming from. In Brown's first movie, I really would have liked to see a lot of him! The scenes he has is funny, but there aren't that many of them. For the most part, we're looking at Brenda and her family; it's a great dramatic story, but where's Brown? Or if Brenda is going to be here, even the dramatic scenes out with some comedy provided by Brown; I think this comedy-drama is more dramatic than comedic.
I do have to say that what makes this film good is the realness of it. I know, I keep saying Tyler Perry's stories and characters are so very realistic, but that's because it's true! Listen to the way these characters talk, it's so life-like! When I was in the theater watching the scene where Brenda told Michael, Jr. not to hang out with his friend Calvin because he sold drugs, I stopped and turned to look at my own mother! Brenda talked exactly how my own mother would have talked to me and my siblings! This is what keeps me coming back: a production that displays life stories that we're often not able to see anywhere else. Where other productions include stereotypes just to have stereotypes or for the sake of a laugh, here we actually see characters - I'm sorry. Not characters, but people. Realistic people who we're used to seeing everyday. Only now, we see them on the big screen.
Like I said, the movie is good. The story is really good; the characters are really good; the drama is good; the comedy is good. For me, I just wanted that exposition for the people who were seeing Brown for the first time. I'd highly recommend it, but only after you see Tyler Perry's other plays; productions like "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," "Madea's Family Reunion," "Madea's Class Reunion," "Meet the Browns," and "What's Done in the Dark." After you've seen those, take a look at this movie. BOOYIKA!