Tika Sumpter and Tiffany Haddish star in Tyler Perry's bumpy romantic comedy

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An uneven, but forgivable, romantic comedy, Tyler Perry's "Nobody's Fool" is fine once it settles into its groove and decides what it wants to be. 

Tika Sumpter stars as Danica, a successful advertising executive in New York. She has a list of what she's looking for in a man, and thinks she's found those things with her boyfriend, whom she only knows from the internet and phone calls.

But why can't he ever video chat? That leads her just-out-of-jail sister Tanya (Tiffany Haddish, a house on fire as always) to believe she's being "catfished," so she calls in the crew from MTV's "Catfish" (Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, playing themselves) for verification. 

Frank ("Power's" Omari Hardwick), meanwhile, is the friendly neighborhood coffee man who has a crush on Danica, but can't get her to give him the time of day because she's preoccupied with her list. Whoopi Goldberg, meanwhile, hangs around the periphery as Danica and Tanya's mom, who's usually too high to comprehend what's going on.

Writer-director Perry shifts gears several times, emphasizing Tanya's storyline and throwing a wild red herring into the catfishing subplot before finally focusing on the story of Danica and Frank. Sumpter and Hardwick have strong chemistry together, even though Perry shoots their love scene like a cheesy 1980s Cinemax hook-up (it drew guffaws from a preview audience).

Once he gets out of his own way, Perry finds his footing by diving into notions of our flighty expectations versus the reality that is in front of us. He then builds to a big romantic gesture, soundtracked by a retro pop song, which goes far in a rom-com. Find what works and leave 'em on a high: even this "Fool" knows that. 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'Nobody's Fool'

GRADE: B-

Rated R for sexual content and language throughout, and for drug material

Running time: 110 minutes

 

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