If you’re not familiar with our Plot Recreated with Reviews feature, it works like this: we take a movie we haven’t seen and try to recreate the entire story using summaries from the reviews. The idea is to use only summary quotes (no analysis!), so that the only editorializing comes by way of delicious passive-aggression. We haven’t done one in a while, because it requires a movie with a plot that’s sort of funny in its own right. Juicy melodrama tends to work the best. And I do believe Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (yes, that is the full title) fits that bill. Here’s the IMDB synopsis:
An ambitious married woman’s temptation by a handsome billionaire leads to betrayal, recklessness, and forever alters the course of her life.
I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for any description that includes the phrase “handsome billionaire.” Okay, let’s do this. And remember, this film didn’t screen for critics, so you have to assume that most of these critics saw it on their own dime.
The story is framed by a tale that a couples therapist imparts to a cheating wife. It concerns Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Brice (Lance Gross), childhood friends in a small, golden-sepia Southern town who are destined for matrimony**, flirting against the wishes of Judith’s scripture-quoting battle-ax mother (Ella Joyce).*
Brice is happy being a humble pharmacist*, while Judith wants to be a marriage counselor and ends up becoming the in-house therapist at a high-class, millionaire matchmaking service***, a high-end operation that Judith can’t stand, despite only working there for less than a month****.
She locks horns with a bitchy, materialistic co-worker (Kim Kardashian essentially playing Kim Kardashian) and her cartoonishly cougar-ish boss, Janice (Vanessa Williams, using a broad French accent)*. Kim Kardashian’s character exists mostly to criticize the wardrobe of Judith *****, uttering bon mots like, “That’s not make-up, that’s make-down.”******
Janice introduces Judith to Harley (Robbie Jones)**, a sort of black Thomas Crown******, a dapper social-media magnate Janice covets as an investor,** and the two begin working with each other on a computer program that matches romantic compatibility****.
Harley spends the first hour of the film gazing lustfully and soulfully at Judith while purring barely concealed come-ons that manage to convey, “I want to have sex with you despite your marriage and strong Christian virtues.”****** Judith, bored by the dutiful, spectacled Brice and feeling professionally stalled, is easy prey for Harley’s seductions.**