I don't know what to say about Tyler Perry. He cannot write, he cannot direct, and as we have seen from Diary of A Mad Black Woman and Madea's Family Reunion, he cannot act, either. And yet, somehow, he keeps getting money to do all three. At least in his latest, Daddy's Little Girls, Perry spares us the acting in drag, even if he still tortures us with his lazy directing and criminal writing.
Idris Elba stars as Monty, a mechanic with three little girls. His ex, Jennifer (Tasha Smith), and her drug-dealing boyfriend, Joe (Gary Sturgis), are fighting for custody of the girls, which they get when one of the girls accidentally burns down a neighbor's apartment (it doesn't make all that much sense when you see it, either). Luckily, Monty has recently met Julia (Gabrielle Union), an uptight lawyer who feels some sympathy for his plight. And as time goes by, she warms up to him personally, and they fall in love. While this is going on, Joe ends up beating the girls, prompting a strong response from Monty.
The full title of this movie is Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls which is very helpful in explaining why it seems like everyone in the film feels like a mouthpiece for what Tyler Perry wants to say to the audience. It's unbearable. When I watch a movie, I look for a good plot, character development, and enjoyable dialogue. Daddy's Little Girls has none of these. Tyler Perry makes Ed Wood look like a truly talented individual.
There are so many annoying inconsistencies in this movie. Why would a drug dealer want to raise someone else's kids? Why does Jennifer want the kids, anyway? In every scene where she interacts with them, she threatens to beat them and verbally abuses them in some way. Why do Julia's upper-crust society friends continually set her up with wannabe rappers and then turn around and berate her for dating Monty? Why are the daughters only in the movie for about twenty minutes when they're meant to be the focus of the film?
It doesn't help that Perry's inept direction is so piss-poor that even great actors such as Louis Gossett Jr. come off looking bad. The man has no eye for composition, and no idea what makes a good performance. As far as I can tell, his idea of good acting is the ability to say his wretched dialogue as loudly as possible. Second rate actors like Tasha Smith are just laughably bad in Perry's hands. It doesn't help that these characters make stereotypes look like deep and sensitive representations of large groups of people.
The only good point of this film is Gabrielle Union. She's the only one in this production who manges to rise above the tepid source material to offer a fun and enjoyable performance. She has a very expressive face and if it weren't for her, this movie would have no stars whatsoever.
There's pretty much no reason to see Daddy's Little Girls. While I understand that I'm not Perry's intended audience, a good movie or good writing in general should be able to transcend boundaries of race, creed, color, or any other division you can think of. In its own way, Daddy's Little Girls also transcends boundaries, because people everywhere should unite in rejecting this pretentious, overcooked joke of a movie.
The Blu-ray Disc:
Lionsgate presents Daddy's Little Girls in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer. This is a solid transfer. Details are strong, as is befitting of a new release. The colors seem to be pushed, sometimes affecting skin tones, but overall this image is pleasing to the eye.
Lionsgate continues its trend of uncompressed 7.1 PCM with Daddy's Little Girls. I've still yet to see a movie that can actually use 7.1 get an appropriate mix, because this movie rarely uses it at all. This is a drama, and not much happens with the surrounds, let alone the two extra speakers. Dialogue is easy to hear (which in this picture may not actually be a plus), but I wouldn't say the audio on this one is particularly mind-blowing. Lionsgate also offers a Dolby Digital EX 5.1 track.
All of the special features are presented in high definition, although they're encoded with MPEG-2 and don't look nearly as good as the main feature. Many of the features here are exclusive to the Blu-ray.
- Commentary by Tyler Perry: I thought we already heard everything Perry had to say in the movie proper, but no, he's back in this commentary. Most of the time, he's busy talking about how amazing all the actors are, even though they're not. When he's not busy gushing over the bad performances, he's busy preaching about the points he wanted to get across with the movie (yeah, we get it already). And halfway through, even has the gall to say that when he writes, he doesn't think about what the theme is or what he's trying to say, even though earlier in the same commentary he points out how many messages he's put into it. This commentary made me hate the movie even more.
- Extended Church Scene: In one scene, Monty goes to a church and hears a sermon that helps keep his spirits up. This is the full cut of the scene, featuring many more blank-looking reaction shots from the cast and going on way, way too long.
- Atlanta Aquarium - Working Underwater: A two minute look at the scenes shot in the Atlanta Aquarium.
- Tyler's Team - Cast & Characters: Comments from Perry and the cast about the characters that populate the film, intercut with footage from the movie and behind the scenes shots.
- Introducing The McClain Sisters: An interview with the McClain sisters, who play the titular daughters.
- Touring The Sets: A six minute look at the sets built for the picture.
- Conducting Chaos - The Riot Scene: Another six minute look, this one at the naive climax with some more comments from Perry that just prove how bad of a writer and filmmaker he is.
- The Oakland Cemetery: A famous cemetery in Atlanta appears in the movie, and this featurette takes a look at the real place.
- Deleted Scenes: As if watching the main movie wasn't painful enough, we get a full seventeen deleted scenes, none of them any better than what made the final cut. Pass.
- Gag Reels: Not one but two gag reels, neither of them funny.
- Uncut: I don't know why these are separate from the extended Church scene, but these are longer versions of three scenes in the film, and the longer they are, the more painful they get.
- House of Payne Ad: Nothing like a shameless plug for Tyler Perry's TBS sitcom, right? If I'm lucky I'll never have to watch an episode.
Daddy's Little Girls is not the worst film ever made, but that's about the most positive thing I can say about it. How writer/director Tyler Perry actually gets funding is beyond me, but it annoys me, as this money could be spent on films with entertainment value or at least some kind of redeeming feature. Such a waste. This Blu-ray disc looks and sounds pretty good, and does feature a host of extras, although none of them are very informative, and in the case of the director's commentary, actually make the experience worse. Avoid this at all costs. Skip It.
Daniel Hirshleifer is the High Definition Editor for DVD Talk.