After two brutal pans yesterday from Variety‘s Peter Debruge and the Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt, Tyler Perry‘s For Colored Girls needs a champion — someone to step bright into the breach and say “hold up, they’re wrong…and here’s why.”
I nominate Movieline‘s Stu VanAirsdale, a self-admitted Perry fanboy who wrote an impassioned profile/defense of the Atlanta-based filmmaker in the September 2009 issue of Esquire (“Why Tyler Perry is the New Obama”). Calling him a “Dark Knight in a floral-print cape,” VanAirsdale wrote that “arguably no filmmaker working today has a better grasp of the zeitgeist than Perry does — and not just the black zeitgeist. Perry is doing some profoundly next-level theorizing about race in the United States. The films are also funny, well-acted and entertaining; a little earnest, sure, and kind of cornball.”
VanAirsdale also said that The Family That Preys, which he called Perry’s “best film….succeeds not only as a wildly pulpy Southern melodrama, but also as an engaging exploration of race, power, and class.”
Is this the guy to turn back the negative Colored Girls tide or what? And I’m not being snide. If the trades went after a filmmaker I admire and support, I’d sure as shit post a counter-view right away. I know that if I was a Lionsgate marketer I’d be on pins and needles this weekend waiting for VanAirsdale’s opening Colored Girls defense piece. I’d be preparing a quote-ad based entirely on what VanAirsdale may write. I mean, I’d have it ready to go first thing Monday morning. Seriously.
Wait…will Van Airsdale take the weekend off and post his defense Monday, or will he jump right in today while the impact-grenade effect from the Debruge/Honeycutt reviews is still ringing in the ears?