Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 09, 2010 AT 09:29 PM EDT

Image Credit: Quantrell ColbertIt’s tough to make an idyllic beach house on the island of Eleuthera look dull, but Why Did I Get Married Too? takes a stab at it.  In Tyler Perry’s newest movie (adapted from his own stage play), four African-American couples get together in the Bahamas for sun, surf, relaxation, upscale accommodations, and an amateur group therapy session on the topic of the movie’s title.  And at one point, the various menfolk break away from their spouses for guy time on the beach. The men talk about this and that, about sports and sex, about how they know each other well but can’t understand their own women all these years later. I know the brothers are drinking brewskis after some quality time on jet-skis. But for the life of me I can’t figure out where each man sits in relationship to the sand and the ocean. Are they on a boat? On beach chairs under an umbrella? Are they all even there at the same time? Because they way the scene is edited, with a shot of one actor as he says his line, then on to the next as he adds his two cents, then occasionally all together, there’s absolutely no sense of cohesion among the characters– and no sense, either, that the cast was in the same place at the same time for the scene. For all I know, they weren’t. Maybe the scene incorporates reshoots. Maybe those reshoots took place on a soundstage. In Atlanta. Here, take a look at this trailer for a taste of what I mean:

Now, I know that no one goes to a Tyler Perry movie for the sophistication of its filmmaking technique. (Or to a Kevin Smith movie. Pssst, just testing to see whether the dude’s awake.) In fact, I’m betting that Perry the impresario might readily acknowledge that cinematic elegance isn’t his thing; what he wants to do is get a broadly popular, lesson-filled drama out to the biggest audience possible, by any means possible. And he does, with tremendous success. But it  bugs me/depresses me/makes me want to write blog items sure to trip Kevin Smith’s wires when a movie — especially a movie aimed at a mass audience — is released with a shrug of, “well, it’s good enough, for its kind.” And an eye-roll of “what did you expect?”

Tyler Perry has made enough movies by now that he ought to have upped his game. (In fact he did, and I was thrilled, with I Can Do Bad All By Myself.)  But hey, do you think I’m overreacting? Are there movies that you remember more for the clunky production than for the content? Is it better in the Bahamas?

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