The Single Moms Club
Film Review by Kam Williams
Frazzled Mothers Join Forces in Tyler Perry Tale of Female Empowerment
Fast-food waitress Lytia (Cocoa Brown) survives paycheck to paycheck and has to rely on public transportation to get around. By contrast, Jan (Wendi McLendon-Covey), an ambitious executive at a prominent publishing company, has many modern amenities and a luxury automobile at her disposal.
Meanwhile, May (Nia Long) is unemployed but dreams of a career in journalism. Then there’s Hillary (Amy Smart), a recent divorcee who’s a bit overwhelmed about the prospect of raising her kids alone in suburbia. And finally, frightened Esperanza (Zulay Henao) has been reduced to cowering and hiding from an abusive ex-husband (Eddie Cibrian) who has continued to threaten her long after their separation.
At first blush, it probably sounds like these five females would have little in common, let alone a reason to cross paths. But that’s exactly what transpires when they’re all summoned to the principal’s office at West Merryville Prep where they each have a child who has just been put on probation for disciplinary reasons like smoking and spray painting graffiti.
At the meeting, Principal Walters (Carrie L. Walrond) leaves the parents no choice but to co-chair the school’s annual fundraising dance. However, this is easier said than done, given that the five, frazzled single-moms are not only bordering on burnout, but are unaccustomed to interacting with folks from the other side of the tracks.
They grudgingly agree to organize the soiree, but can these black, white and Latino women even get past their considerable class and cultural differences? That is the concern established at the outset of The Single Moms Club, a humor-driven tale of female empowerment played more for laughs than for serious enlightenment.
Written, produced and directed by and co-starring Tyler Perry, the picture first pits the protagonists against one another before having them gradually see their similarities as overburdened sole providers. At that point, they create an informal association which basically functions as a babysitting support group as well as an excuse to share a weekly girls’ night to decompress by singing karaoke, watching hunky men strip, and trading relationship advice about the battle-of-the-sexes.
Tyler tweaks his familiar, morality play formula here by toning down the sermonizing this go-round in favor of going more for laughs. Of course, before the closing credits outtakes roll, he makes sure his heroines conveniently bond into a tight-knit band of sisters whose lovers and little monsters are all behaving again.
An unabashedly-sentimental salute to single-moms from all walks of life!
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sexuality and mature themes
Running time: 111 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Films