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Friday, 9 February 2018

Retro Review: Daddy's Little Girls (2007)

Daddy's Little Girls
Cast: Idris Elba, Gabrielle Union, Louis Gossett Jr, Tasha Smith, Terri J. Vaughn, Tracee Ellis Ross
Genre: Romantic Comedy Drama
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $31 million

Plot: A mechanic enlists the help of a successful, but lonely attorney while trying to wrest custody of his 3 daughters from his treacherous ex-wife & boyfriend

'This Daddy's Not Home'

Tyler Perry is a filmmaker of whom many people don't admire with movies that are supposed to be positive, encouraging, uplifting, yet they end up making us question and point out how misguided Perry can be & is. & in Daddy's Little Girls, that particular point of criticism is practically why, despite being labelled the Spike Lee of the post-2000s in terms of African-American directors, his films cannot be compared to the likes of She's Gotta Have It, Malcolm X and my absolute favourite of his by far in Do The Right Thing

Monty works 2 jobs as a car mechanic and a chauffeur to support his 3 young daughters. You see, Monty was previously married but is now divorced from Jennifer, who ditched him for a good for nothing, drug-dealing boyfriend. She comes up with excuse after excuse why Monty is a bad father that she tries to win custody of the girls. Even though it is she, who is indeed the bad seed, and not Monty and she doesn't truly care about their well-being. With that, Monty turns to a lawyer, Julia, who has trouble finding the right guy that her two best friends set Julia up with bad blind dates. Julia works with Monty and the two plan a case for the defence, but then they become so attached to each other, they fall in love. Yet Monty hides a dirty secret from Julia that may not only jeopardise the case but their relationship as well. 

A drama by Tyler Perry, Daddy's Little Girls is a film with a serious subject matter but this is treated in made-for-TV, B-movie fashion that whilst it doubles up as a romantic drama of some sorts, his approach becomes too sentimental it spills all over the movie and takes away from the seriousness of the subject matter involved that the story eventually gets tired. The tone is inconsistent and all over the place, it tries to be serious, but then it throws in some light-hearted scenes that illicit humour but of which seems out of place. The comedy moments, such as Julia throwing up in the bathroom, just don't work here and they barely brought a smile to my face. But then as the film wears on, the plot twists become so ridiculous and absurd and felt utterly out of place. 

From the moment the characters are introduced, we all know what the outcome will be in the end that Perry never takes risks, but rather it tries to throw in one silly plot twist after another. The story was just difficult to grasp and the transition from strangers to lovers with Monty and Julia could have been better developed; instead, their relationship is treated as almost nothing that they don't even show much love or any genuine affection. It's a shame: Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba look like a nice onscreen coupling together, but their characters' treatment of their relationship, due to the horrible writing by Perry, renders it as meaningless. 

Sure enough, Perry has this idea for a movie, but with Daddy's Little Girls its execution just isn't good enough to sustain a 90 min film. 

The best of the cast was Gabrielle Union as Julia ahead of Tracee Ellis Ross, Terri J Vaughn, and Idris, even though her performance wasn't incredible, she manages to elevate herself if not more for the film whose production values by Perry are just amateurish- TV movie looking wise. I'm just not feeling the look of this movie. The rest was okay, whilst Idris Elba is solid at best. The melodrama is at times overbearing with a score that overrides the film so much so, it becomes irritating whilst the story wasn't convincing and I didn't care for most of the characters. The girls exist as nothing more than a plot device & reduced to bit-part roles and to show how despicable Monty's ex-wife is. As I was watching this, all I could think of is how every time a serious moment occurred, instead of me taking it seriously as I should have, I ended up feeling nothing towards it and the characters involved. It's beyond belief to me anyway how an interesting premise and subject matter was conceived in such a manner that it makes so many missteps; and in doing so, the film gradually got worse and was virtually unredeemable. 

And towards the end it is revealed that Monty raped an 18-year-old, which not only came out of blue, it is also one of the worst plot- hole ridden bombshells I have come across, and with that, Monty and Julia break-up, but it is only briefly and they get back together again. Perry wrote this movie and I couldn't believe he came up with that; it's incompetent and ruins the rest of the film that I didn't care what the outcome was at the end of it.

This film was described as a romantic comedy-drama, but it is when I sat through it that Daddy's Little Girls was so completely misleading in that respect, the film doesn't really go to lengths to be just that. It's not romantic enough, the comedy doesn't work well and the drama through the writing is just littered with errors and that it wasn't satisfying enough. It's as if Perry and this film treats its audience like idiots and wanting us to go along with its idiotic twists. How's about no? 

Final Verdict:

Daddy's Little Girls is just proof why Tyler Perry should refrain from writing; I know I am aware that he gets slated for his directorial efforts and for his so-called Madea comedy films that people loathe in spades, but this so-called drama erroneously makes one fledgling mistake after another, that not even the efforts by Idris Elba and Gabrielle Union are enough to make up for it. 

So predictable with writing so simplistic, but the damage for me was the handling of Julia and Monty's relationship that after getting together, no sooner they were driven apart and all because of one absurd idea, courtesy of Perry. & their romance is treated like it's all for nothing, which given this is or was supposed to be a romantic drama, defeats the original premise of the movie. 

When they split up because of that, I gave up on the rest of it and didn't care what happened to Monty. 

Despite its noble and heartfelt intentions, the execution is so botched and riddled with problems and unfortunately, Daddy's Little Girls doesn't deserve a rewatch at any given time from me. 


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