Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor

Directed by: Tyler Perry

Starring:  Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Robbie Jones, Kim Kardashian, Brandy Norwood, and Vanessa Williams

When I first saw the movie trailer for Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor, I thought it revealed too much about the film’s plot.  From the movie preview alone, I could see that the lead character is a woman who is tired of being ignored by her husband. She is tempted by a rich executive.  She cheats on her husband and her lover turns out to be abusive.  Sadly, there is not much more to the story than that, which is why Temptation ultimately flounders.

Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) grows up in a strict southern household raised by her religious mother Sarah (Ella Joyce).  At the age of six, Judith meets the love of her life Brice (Lance Gross).  Judith and Brice grow up together and are inseparable. Ultimately, they get married and move to the Washington, D.C. area.  Brice works in a small pharmacy, and dreams of owning his own pharmacy one day.  Judith wants to be a marriage counselor, but has hit a few hiccups along the way and she ends up working as a relationship therapist at a high end matchmaking service headed by Janice (Vanessa Williams). 

Judith is completely dissatisfied with her career and she’s becoming increasingly disillusioned with her marriage.  Although Brice is a good man, he is also incredibly practical and dull.  He only wants to have sex in the bedroom, his idea of a nice evening out is a nice buffet, and he watches football instead of his wife.  He also keeps forgetting Judith’s birthday, and although he tries to make up for it by singing “Try a Little Tenderness,” Brice is seriously lacking in the romance department.

In comes Harley (Robbie Jones).  Harley is a wildly successful internet guru and he is considering taking Janice’s matchmaking business online.  Harley is intrigued by Judith and her innocence.  He insists on working with her to discuss his possible investment in the company.  As they work closely together, they begin to flirt.  Initially, Judith resists Harley’s advances.  However, as Harley sweeps her off her feet and wines and dines her, she ultimately succumbs and in the process heads towards a path of destruction.

Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor fails on so many different levels that it is difficult to know where to begin.  As previously stated, the film’s trailer revealed the entire plot of the movie, which was a major marketing faux pas. Because I knew exactly what was going to happen, I had to sit for almost two hours, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for it to happen.  The film was painfully slow and incredibly dull.  Honestly, watching the film, I felt like Judith in her marriage, bored to death.  Moreover, the major plot twist was predictable and thus underwhelming. 

To compound matters, the film lacked heat.  In a movie about lust and adultery, director Tyler Perry chose to shy away from hot love scenes.  If the title of your movie includes the word “temptation” and the subject matter is adultery, commit to being provocative.  I’m not saying that the film had to go the Cinemax route, but it should have been steamier than an episode of The Young and the Restless. 

Moreover, I thought there was some erroneous casting.  I’m sure Robbie Jones appeals to some, but he’s not exactly Denzel Washington or Idris Elba, and you needed a hotter lead because Lance Gross is incredibly good-looking.  Who is cheating on him?  There is a scene where Gross comes out of the shower that put any scene Robbie Jones had to shame.  Mercy!  They needed a more homely actor to make me believe that a woman would toss a 19 year relationship with Lance Gross out of the window so quickly and foolishly.  I think most women would try to work things out and spice it up with Mr. Gross before hopping into bed with a rich jerk after a few weeks.

The one positive thing that I can say about the film is that the supporting cast is strong. Ella Joyce, Vanessa Williams and Renee Taylor all brought humor to the film in some way and provided a break in an otherwise long, uninteresting film.  Even Kim Kardashian was not horrible.  Her character was a shallow, superficial, rude beeyotch and Kardashian played her role well. 

Overall, Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor earns a wasted rating.  You need some tequila shots to make it through this one.