It’s understandable why people think of Tyler Perry’s female comedy persona, Madea, when seeing his name on the big screen. But in “The Single Moms Club,” Perry trades in the over-the-top ways of Madea for a sometimes serious- rather funny divorced father of two, who ends up falling for one of the single moms. Her name is May (Nia Long), a local newspaper reporter, ambitious novelist, and mother to a 12-year-old son whose father would rather do drugs then spend time with his kid. She and four other moms first meet in a parent-teacher conference, after their kids have been caught hanging out on school property after hours, smoking cigarettes and tagging the walls with graffiti. Their kids have been placed on academic probation, while the mothers, as part of the disciplinary deal, must organize the school’s annual fundraiser dance. Like so, the Single Moms Club is born.
Imagine putting five women together, all from different parts of the woods. It’s like trying to eat cereal with orange juice; sour with a bitter after taste. But Perry manages to find a way to blend these five very different personalities into a group of women you would like to get to know.
Wendi McLendon-Covey, best known for her role as Rita in Bridesmaids, delivers a bit more restricted yet still funny role as Jan, a book editor who put her job at the top of her list, leaving her daughter at the very bottom of it. Amy Smart plays Hilary, a mother going through a nasty divorce while trying to reunite with her daughter. Then there’s Zulay Henao’s Esperanza, a women dealing with a dominating ex-husband, while trying to move on with her life. And finally there’s Cocoa Brown who plays Lytia, a mother who lives in fear of her youngest son following in his brothers footsteps and ending up in jail.
Perry did a great job focusing on each individual mother and their story, while also bringing the whole cast together, despite its size. To no surprise, there were a few Madea moments played exceptionally well through Browns character, to break the ice when the mood of the film became a bit intense. The film is an overall hit as Perry doesn’t harp on the one thing that made this club form in the first place; men. All five of these women are facing the world and a way to deal with financial, emotional, social and sexual difficulties and yet it shows how the mothers overcome their struggles rather then blame them on their ex-spouses.
This film is an empowering display of women that will make you cry one second and have you laughing so hard the next. This is a first for Perry, as his cast was made up of such a diverse group of people, and that is what made the film so remarkably fresh. It is a humorous yet somber salute to all single moms out there!