“Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns” (Lionsgate)

A Family Full of Characters

Tyler Perry has created another winner in his latest film “Meet the Browns.” Based on his play of the same name, this is a story about a family full of quirky characters. They live, love and learn about life as they go through the experiences of day to day living. Writer/director Tyler Perry knows how to blend drama and comedy and he does it perfectly here. This film should be another consecutive hit for this talented writer/producer/director.

The film starts off in Chicago where a single mother named Brenda (Angela Bassett) is trying to keep her family together ands make ends meet. She has three children and she vows she will take care of them. Still she has her doubts when she loses her job and can’t find a new one. Her best friend Cheryl (played by scene stealer Sofia Vergara) does all she can to encourage her and help her out.

Out of the blue she receives a letter telling her that her father has died in Atlanta. She takes her three children and goes there for the funeral. She is greeted by her uncles LB (Frankie Faison) and Leroy Brown (David Mann) as well as her aunts Sarah (Margaret Avery) and Vera (Jenifer Lewis).

She also meets a handsome basketball scout named Harry (Rick Fox). Harry tells her that her son Michael (Lance Gross) is good enough o turn professional. Brenda, however, is determined Michael will get his education. She also worries that things that seem too good to be true aren’t.

Along the way Brenda learns that family members take care of each other and that trust is a necessity for any relationship. These messages are driven home in the story over and over. The film also demonstrates that heartache and happiness are both a part of life.

Bassett shows her beauty and her talent in her role as Brenda.. She seems to be a little bit old for the part but not much. Fox is perfectly romantic as her suitor. All of the supporting actors are strong but Jenifer Lewis steals the show as Vera in the same way Vergara steals it as Cheryl. Both of these women are hilarious every time they are on screen.

Tyler Perry makes a brief cameo towards the end of the film as both Madea and Uncle Joe. This interjected interlude has nothing to do with the rest of the film but audiences eat it up when this familiar couple appears.

The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and sexual innuendoes.

Tyler Perry knows his audience and makes his movies to entertain them. He piles on the comedy and then levels it with a sentimental drama. It has served him well in the past and it will serve him once again with “Meet the Browns.”

I scored “Meet the Browns” a familial 7 out of 10.

©2008 Jackie K. Cooper