Perry, as writer-producer-director (and cast member) here, traffics in clunky stereotypes and a disregard for the show-don't-tell tenet of screenwriting, as he relates this tale of five diverse, beleaguered women raising kids on their own who form a support group. (The gals' alliance largely morphs into a baby-sitters club that, at one highly contrived point, goes south.)
The single ladies, whose children all go to the same equal-opportunity Atlanta prep school, include earnest journalist May (
The way Perry, who's rarely known for his subtlety, paints these eclectic women in such broad, often retrograde strokes, it's a stretch they would ever become friends, even by mainstream movie standards. Case in point: Why anyone would put up with the hateful and racist Jan, much less fix her up with a co-worker — as May does — shatters all kinds of credibility.
Except for Long, who manages to wring some emotional reality from the hackneyed script, the lead actresses simply can't get past the single notes they're given to play.
The men here don't fare much better:
'Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club'
MPAA rating: PG-13 for some sexual material and thematic elements
Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes
Playing: In general release