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With: Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Crystle Stewart, Jazmyn Simon, Ptosha Storey, Danielle Nicolet, Nelson Estevez, Kendrick Cross, Jay Hunter, Ajiona Alexus, Antonio Madison
Written by: Tyler Perry
Directed by: Tyler Perry
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content and some violence
Running Time: 120
Date: 03/30/2018
IMDB

Acrimony (2018)

1 Star (out of 4)

Uncoupled

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This endless, crushingly serious drama explores a disintegrating marriage between two shallow, selfish partners, and then, for its ridiculous third act, it shifts gears a turns into an awful thriller. Writer/director Tyler Perry returns with Acrimony, an SAT-inspired title that nevertheless aims for the lowest common denominator.

In Acrimony, Melinda (Taraji P. Henson) is on the receiving end of a restraining order, filed by her ex-husband, Robert (Lyriq Bent). The court orders her into therapy, and her story unfolds in flashback. She meets Robert in college, and they quickly fall in love and marry; Melinda uses money from her mother's life insurance to finance Robert's dream project, a self-charging battery.

Years go by, and Melinda continues to support her husband, with no hope on the horizon. Their marriage disintegrates, partly due to the re-emergence of Diana (Crystle Stewart), a former dalliance of Robert's. After divorcing, Diana helps Robert sell his idea, and they become wealthy. But despite Robert paying Melinda a generous sum, she still believes that her life has been stolen from her, and only revenge can quench her ferocious rage.

The movie has nothing to say except that people, with the exception of certain gestures, are awful and there's nothing to be done about it. That, and money is the answer for everything. The Robert character is a parasite, who passive-aggressively sucks the life out of Melinda, and she is a hateful, miserable woman, bent only on her own satisfaction.

Spending any time with these two would be a trial, but Perry asks us to sit for a full, painful two hours. Robert eventually performs a gesture that seems to come from genuine regret and kindness, but it doesn't go far as the ludicrous plot mechanisms kick in for the brain-dead finale.

Ms. Henson is a fine performer, and she seems to have worked hard here, as do some of her co-stars, but unfortunately, it's wasted in a movie that may leave viewers feeling hopeless and lousy. Not even the frequent music of Nina Simone helps.

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