Mea Culpa by Tyler Perry is a Beautiful Disaster

Mea Culpa

Mea Culpa, produced, written, and directed by Tyler Perry, is making quite a splash on social media. Released on Netflix the film stars Kelly Rowland and Mea Harper, Trevante Rhodes as Zyair Malloy, RonReaco Lee as Jimmy, and Nick Sagar as Ray. The story follows Mea, a defense attorney, who takes on a high-profile murder case in the defense of Zyair.

A couple of things to get out of the way. Nick Sagar looked so familiar to me, then I realized he was in the Princess Switch. However, his being the love interest in the Princess Switch movies with Vanessa Hudgens would have been the farthest thought from my mind because the characters were so different. But yet, he is one and the same; good job on him. If you haven’t watched the Princess Switch movies on Netflix, you should but only if you enjoy cute, corny Lifetime Christmas movies. There’s three of them and they are sickeningly corny and cute. Secondly, this whole review is going to be spoiler-filled so if you think you are going to watch this, stop now. 

Kelly Rowland was wonderful. Overall, most of the acting was decent. The actors worked the heck out of the material they were given. I have seen Kelly in Merry Liddle Christmas from Lifetime and she usually gives a solid performance. If you are interested, the Liddle Christmas movies are a trilogy in which she is the star. I hope this provides her with an opportunity to get more roles and become a Hollywood darling because I can see that for her. It looks like a little more attention was paid to wardrobe and styling because my girl was on point with the hair, makeup and outfits. 

So Mea Culpa starts with the audience learning that Mea is married to Kal, who has an unhealthy mama’s boy relationship with his mother. The level of disrespect his mother shows Mea is the first problem with this movie because it is too over the top and not remotely believable. What’s even more unbelievable is how Mea takes the verbal abuse. We meet the rest of the family: the viperous mother, Azalia, the ambitious, arrogant brother, Ray, and his dutiful wife, Charlise, who is close friends with Mea. Eventually, we learn that Kal is not only weak with his mother but in life. We find out that he lost his job as an anesthesiologist because he was drinking and doing drugs on the job. 

First off, Kal looks like he’s ten so when he found time to be an anesthesiologist of all things is beyond me. What takes the cake in the haphazardly thrown-together script is, Mea taking the case that her brother-in-law is prosecuting because they need the money. Then just willingly throws her career away to have a romp with this man she barely knows because she thought her husband was cheating on her. Secondly, Zyair is not better. He knows the women he gets involved with tend to be on the cray cray side and you want to risk it all for some tail when you obviously stay getting tail!

It was obvious that the family, Ray in particular, had something out for Zyair. So I wasn’t too surprised at the ending. Contrary to public opinion the last 15 minutes made the movie more interesting to me. The first half minus the painting love scene was a complete bore. What I found completely ridiculous was what led up to the sex scene between Mea and Zyair. You mean to tell me, you just watched him with another chick’s jaw around his free willy which he discards like a bothersome gnat, and that is when you decide to jump into bed with him. And if I am being completely honest there was not enough tension and build-up to the sex scene. Nevertheless, the colors and use of their bodies and the paint were a cinematic beauty. 

Now even though they were playing Zyair, he was a trash person. I am glad she did not end up with him in the end because regardless of his innocence regarding the murder, he was a womanizer and user and clearly was on his rinse-and-repeat mode with these women. I’m not saying, he could not have really found love with Mea and even the girlfriend he was framed for murdering (by the way she was not really dead, just pretended to be), how was Mea supposed to believe him after 2.5 seconds of being together and learning the truth of his instant replay game. Boy bye. 

For the most part, it was boring to me. I know a lot of people did not like the ending but if the overall writing had been done well, it would have been a cool plot twist. I actually found the ending the more interesting part that added a little life to the movie. I also found it a little comical which I doubt was the intent but it was to me probably because the mother-in-law was giving caricature vibes instead of true characterization. Again, this is a writing problem and not an execution problem by the actress. I believe she did the best with the material she was given. So as much as Tyler Perry has contributed to putting black and women actresses on, he can do so much more by spreading the writing love. There are a slew of great writers out there who can use the opportunity, and he can enhance his brand at the same time. It must be an ego thing that keeps him from having a solid writer's room because I cannot imagine at this point in his career it is a money thing. 

4/10 Mea Culpa 


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