• by Wes Singleton

Acrimony, D

Rated R, 120 minutes

There's one thing for sure, actress Taraji P. Henson is a force to be reckoned with, and in spite of her ferocious performance, she can't save the overwrought, depressing and dumb Tyler Perry soap opera "Acrimony." All I can believe is that she must owe Perry something for having to star in this dreck.

Melinda Gayle, a faithful wife (Henson) tired of standing by her devious husband Robert (Lyriq Bent) is enraged when it becomes clear she has been betrayed. Melinda finds out that her husband gets engaged to another woman, and loses control and all hell breaks loose.

"Acrimony" is written, directed and produced by Perry and stars one of the most talented actresses working today, "Empire's" Henson, and she's essentially playing another version of the tough, independent Cookie from that show. If Henson had better material, she could easily find herself with an Oscar, but it won't happen with "Acrimony," which is better suited for Lifetime or OWN, where many of Perry's projects play to great success.

Perry's lackluster script and direction provide little shading into the one-dimensional characters for this woman-in-distress drama, which tend to play well with audiences, even without much marketing or advance notice. Henson doesn't really arrive onto the screen for the first hour, until then we only hear her overdone narration that really plays to the notion that hindsight is always 20/20. We know that abused women stay in relationships due to their love and commitment, but Perry provides little insight into this, except for Henson's character to say in voice-over, "I should've known better." Well, yeah.

Handsome, appealing newcomers Ajiona Alexus (who also plays a younger version of Cookie on "Empire") and Antonio Madison play the young Melinda and Robert, who age into Bent of the new TV show "She's Gotta Have It" and Henson and who stay together in spite of all their troubles. We know early on this can't end well and ultimately it doesn't in the forgettable "Acrimony" which keeps getting worse the longer it goes.

Perry's and Henson's fans will likely turn up in support, but Perry serves up a big plate of soapy ridiculousness that is "Acrimony." It's also one of Perry's most depressing films to date.

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