Wearing a dress may have helped teach Perry a few things about what women desire. Directing the talented quartet of Bates, Woodard, Sanaa Lathan, and Taraji P. Henson, the writer-director-actor "kept everybody feeling like [each was] the apple of his eye," says Woodard, who plays a nurturing working-class mom with a daughter (Lathan) who embarks on an affair with a socialite's son (Hauser). "I had fresh flowers in my trailer and in my hotel room every three days." Perry, who costars in pants, this time is vying for a wider
audience with the film, but he hasn't abandoned Madea-style humor. "It isn't broad," says Woodard. "But there are still plenty of those drama-mama moments that make the audience go, 'Ooooh no, you didn't!' "
OUR TWO CENTS Perry has proven again and again that he can open films, and this diverse cast might give Family some new followers. 9/12