Film: Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Would you believe that this was based on a christian-themed play?
"This is like watching an Ernest movie and having 10 minutes of Ernest with an hour and a half of melodrama about abortions."
A 2005 movie directed Darren Grant and starring Tyler Perry
, adapted from a stage play of the same name.
Helen (Kimberly Elise) and Charles McCarter (Steve Harris) had everything: fine home, beautiful clothes and success. In public, they were the perfect match. But behind the scenes was another matter. On what should have been the end of the happiest day of their lives, Charles evicts Helen, his wife of 18 years, from their house in the presence of his mistress. She moves in with her grandmother, Madea (Tyler Perry). Helen then goes from meek and mild to mad, starts a diary and a new life, and meets a new man, Orlando (Shemar Moore).
- Acting for Two: Tyler Perry portrays Madea, Joe, and Brian, Helen's attorney cousin.
- Adaptation Distillation
- Amoral Attorney: Near the end of the movie, it is revealed that Charles got a lot of his money from defending rich criminals.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When the Bailiff announces Madea and Helen's case:
Bailiff:... Criminal trespassing, Reckless endangerment, Criminal possession of a handgun, Assault with a deadly weapon, Suspended license, Expired registration, Reckless driving, and a broken taillight.
- Bald of Evil: Charles.
- Berserk Button: Lay a hand on Madea or her family and she will not hesitate to shoot. Not even for a second.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Big Fancy House: Charles has one. Helen had one.
- Break the Cutie: Helen at the beginning.
- Break the Haughty: Charles near the end, after being shot and paralyzed, with things going downhill from there.
- Broken Aesop: You know the moral about loving God and trusting Him with your life and problems and worshipping only Him that this movie tries to preach? Well, that gets broken by Madea of all people who told a tale about a man who used to abuse her who she was so angry with that even when she was at his funeral, she beat him down an extra two feet (from the six feet he was under already), all while proclaiming that she did it because sometimes "God waits too long" to answer our prayers or get revenge on those who we feel deserve it.
- Broken Bird: Helen starts to become this after her Break the Cutie moment. She gets better.
- Chainsaw Good: Well, not good for the poor couch.
- Covers Always Lie: Somewhat, Madea is a mad black woman, but not the Mad Black Woman portrayed in the film, it's Helen.
- Deadpan Snarker: Madea, in spades.
- Diary: Helen's diary is used a narration device for the movie.
- Dirty Old Man: Joe, who ogles both his niece-in-law (who is in her 60s) and his great-niece.
- Domestic Abuser: Guess.
- Drugs Are Bad: There is a plotline with Brian and his wife, Debrah, whose drug addiction has caused them some marital problems. Her drug habits and addictions had gotten so bad that Brian kicked her out of the house at the last straw. Don't worry, she got better.
- Everyone Can See It: Madea uses this verbatim on Brian about still being in love with his drug abusing wife Debra.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest
- Food Slap: Helen eats a salad in front of Charles, knowing he can't get food for himself, and when she is almost done throws the plate at him.
- Heel-Face Turn: After being shot and paralyzed by his drug dealer client, cleaned out finacially by his mistress before leaving him, tortured by his scorned wife for the wrong he has done to her, Charles realizes the error of his ways and apologizes to Helen. Afterwards, he begins to rehabilitate, along with Helen's help, in a montage. At church, he even confesses his sins and turns to god.
- But of course, that doesn't stop Helen from handing Charles signed divorce papers and leaving to find her own happy ending.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Madea, so much.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Brian and Debra. Then again, Tyler Perry is this with everyone being 6'4'' and all.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: When Brian introduces Helen and Orlando, not realizing they'd already met, which leads to the following exchange.
Orlando: Hey, I was just trying to help you out the other night.
Helen: Oh, yeah right. You're no good Samaritan. He paid you. It's not like you're some savior or something.
Brian: I...I'm gonna go...check the...do something. (Scurries away.)
- I Know Karate: From this exchange.
Brenda: I know Tae Kwan Doe
Madea: And i know whoop yo ass!
- It's All About Me
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: You'll hurt yourself trying to decide how much "gold" is in Madea's heart.
- Karma Houdini: Brenda. Although it was Charles getting his just desserts, but still....
- Laser-Guided Karma: The second half of the movie is pretty much every rotten thing Charles has done coming back to bite him in the ass. His dealings with criminal clients leads to him getting paralyzed, his mistress Brenda leaves him to die and takes both his money and their kids without telling him, and when he has the nerve to still treat Helen like trash even after she tries to help him, Helen finally decides to get even. She delivers a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how being married to him was no picnic on her end but she at least tried to make it work, whereas he stopped caring. The stress he gave Helen caused her, among other things, two miscarriages. After returning the next day she dumps him into a hot bath and starts expressing further grievances. When it looks like Charles is trying to drown himself, Helen stops him, and then later eats dinner in front of him. As Charles is crying for the maid, Helen takes great joy in telling him that his bitch girlfriend didn't pay the staff so they all quit, and then took their kids and some of Charles' things and left. She then tosses her plate of food at Charles and leaves.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Helen wanted children with Charles, but had two miscarriages. Meanwhile, he had two kids with his mistress.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Steve Harris, who plays Charles, looks like the meanest person on the planet, but Tyler Perry said he was very friendly.
- The Mistress: She also had two kids for Charles and had no qualms about cleaning him out financially, letting him die in surgery rather then live as a cripple, and leaving him after he was shot and paralyzed. She also took the kids with her.
- Montages: Quite a few.
- Mr. Fanservice: Orlando.
- Narrator: Helen who narrates as she's writing in her diary. Hence the title.
- Never Mess with Granny: Never ever mess with Mabel Madea Simmons... or with her granddaughter.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Despite the title of the movie and the serious undertones of the trailer, many viewers were distracted by the large, crossdressing man played by Perry himself and forgot that the movie was a comedy-drama rather than just a comedy.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The film does a short but blatant riff on Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston after Judge Mablean Ephriam rules Helen and Madea's case:
Judge Ephriam: Bailiff, call the next case.
Bailiff: The State of Georgia versus Bobby Brown.
Judge Ephriam: What is this? Repeat offender day?
Voice of Whitney Houston: Bobby! Bobby, I love you!
Judge Ephriam: Sit down, Miss Houston.
- No Respect Guy: Orlando, at first.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: The judge's reaction to Madea getting brought before her, which is apparently a common occurrence.
- Rapid-Fire Typing: Done for comedic effect when Madea is tallying how much money Charles owes Helen.
- Red Herring: While Madea has her moments, she is not the "Mad Black Woman" described in the film. That title is reserved for Helen.
- Revenge: after Charles is shot by the gangster he was defending and is paralyzed, Helen gets revenge while taking care of him.
- Of course, she then realized that it wasn't really that fulfilling...
- Revised Ending: In the original play, Helen gets back together with Charles after his Heel-Face Turn. Though at the same time, Charles was considerably less of a Jerkass in the play.
- Sassy Black Woman: Madea
- Separated-at-Birth Casting: Cicely Tyson and Kimberly Elyse have more than just a casual resemblance to each other.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Helen and Orlando.
- Take That: A rather amusing one against Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. See No Celebrities Were Harmed above.
- Team Mom / Team Dad: It's up to you to decide which one Madea counts as.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Dealt out a number of times by Helen to a crippled Charles, while she's taking revenge on him.
- Title Drop: Later in the movie when Helen writes an entry in her diary:
Helen:September 19th. Dear Diary, as I sit here thinking about picking up the pieces of what used to be my life, I realized something. Every room in this house holds a painful memory for me. Even though he's suffering, something somewhere in me wants him to suffer more. A few months and a divorce can take you through just as many emotions as 18 years in a marriage. And I'm starting to feel all of them at once. But the one that is clear is rage. Signed, a Mad Black Woman.
- Too Dumb to Live: Charles apparently thought it was a good idea to continue treating Helen like trash after she attempted to help get his affairs in order right after A: He was paralyzed and B: She's the reason he's still alive.
- Trailers Always Lie: As you can see from the picture, most of this movie's promotional material made it look like a slapstick comedy about Madea, when in reality she's a supporting character and her antics take up a fairly small part of the film.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Guess.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Charles.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Brenda. After Charles is paralyzed she almost immediately opts to have them terminate his life support if need arise, but since Helen was still technically Charles' wife that decision was turned down. Brenda also fired the staff of Charles' house, cleaned out his bank account, and abandoned him.
- Woman Scorned: Helen, of course. She even states this herself:
Helen: I'm not bitter. I'm mad as hell.
- Your Cheating Heart: Charles, who not only cheated with a mistress(and possible other women), but had children with said mistress.
- It's even his motive for kicking Helen out "I can't keep doing this to my kids."
- To be fair to Helen, she tried to get pregnant multiple times but has stated she had at least two miscarriages as a result of the stress Charles has caused her.