Tons of talent is wasted in this movie. (Lionsgate)
"For Colored Girls" has to be one the most botched stage-to-film adaptations ever.
And the blame here clearly belongs to writer-director Tyler Perry, who obviously doesn't understand that just because something works on stage doesn't mean it's going to work on film. Especially when that something involves actors suddenly blurting out full-length poems.
On stage, you can frame such soliloquies with lighting and choreography; and perhaps Perry could have done so on film as well (it would have been tricky). But instead he just has folks burst into (somewhat dated-sounding) poetry.
It's like a musical without the music, and it looks and sounds ridiculous.
An adaptation of Ntozake Shange's 1975 play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf" — which was more of a choreographed poem than traditional play — "For Colored Girls" also suffers from Perry's over-developed sense of melodrama.
Within the few days covered by the script the eight female characters involved deal with rape, HIV infection, alcoholism, cultism, the murder of children, adultery, traumatic stress disorder and abortion. Any one of these issues could drive a film. But stacked atop one another they become literal overkill.
Most of these characters live on one floor of an urban apartment building. You do not want to move into this place.
The great sadness here is that the actresses involved — and the actors, although men are near-universally vile in this film — deliver far more than the film is worth.
Thandie Newton, Loretta Devine, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Whoopi Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose ... they're all working hard.
But Perry's sense of drama is working against them. Ham-handed, obvious, overblown and pretentious, "For Colored Girls" is a plain disaster.
â€˜For Colored Girlsâ€™
GRADE: DRated R: For some disturbing violence including a rape, sexual content and languageRunning time: 120 minutes