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Tyler Perry is one of popular culture’s biggest contradictions: one of the most prominent African American storytellers in history, he’s a bonafide showman and a sloppy filmmaker, often at the same time. Perry’s prolific output often centers on inane dialogue, mismatched performances, and half-hearted scenarios that feel like they barely made it past the first draft. But whether he’s channeling his now-retired quasi-drag queen Madea or turning up the melodrama, Perry’s workmanlike approach always delivers on his own slapdash terms.
“A Fall From Grace,” Perry’s first feature for Netflix (and his first since apparently killing off Madea last year), encapsulates the essence of the Perry Touch. A trashy Hitchcockian riff designed to make its audience laugh out loud at every ludicrous twist, the movie turns on a peculiar miscarriage of justice and bizarre courtroom theatrics that make your average legal thriller look like Shakespeare. For that very reason, it’s almost certain to please anyone willing to roll with loose attention to logic. Shot in five days last December — because why not? — Perry’s self-produced soap opera scribble is the kind of hilarious so-bad-it’s-good romp in which the man behind the curtain invites his viewers to roll their eyes.
Token - Fall - Grace - Drama - Approach
By that same token, “A Fall From Grace” shows just enough potential that one can imagine the sturdier drama that a more cautious approach might have wrought. Set within the vague backdrop of suburban Virginia and a nearby penitentiary, Perry’s script finds young public defender Jasmine (Bresha Webb) eager to take on her first case and tasked with getting a plea deal from Grace (Crystal Fox), a middle-aged woman who has confessed to murdering her younger husband. After meeting a despondent Grace, however, Jasmine’s not so sure that Grace actually did it, a suspicion that grows as she tracks down her son and...
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