Friday, February 22, 2008

What's Done in the Dark... DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Videotape of Stage Version of Tyler Perry Musical Released on DVD

There’s a fundamental difference in the way in which actors perform onstage as opposed to onscreen. In a play, they tend to over-enunciate and to exaggerate their body movements for the benefit of members of a live audience who might not be sitting near enough to read their facial expressions.
However, no such amplification is in order in front of a camera, since the lens is able to zoom in and capture even the most subtle of nuances.
For this reason, don’t be surprised to find this version of Tyler Perry’s What's Done in the Dark... problematical. For the DVD is essentially a simple recording of the stage production which treats us to close-ups which make the characters appear a tad cartoonish. That being said, the film is still recommended, provided you are willing to make a mental adjustment and understand that the thespians are playing the roles so broadly to engage the folks in the theater.
Set in a hospital emergency room, the musical soap opera revolves around a couple of nurses, each of whom has a little drama going on in her life. Head nurse Kerry (Shawna Vinson) is having an affair with Dr. Bowman (Terrell Carter) who’s promising to leave his wife (Chantelle Christopher), even though she’s pregnant. Meanwhile, her new assistant, Brenda (Chandra Currelley) is a single-mom who just wishes her deadbeat ex (Dino Hanson) would take an interest in spending some quality time with his teenage son (Ahmad Jamal McGhee).
The tension generated by these relationships is broken up intermittently by spirited renditions of gospel songs and by comic relief which comes courtesy of Mr. Brown (David Mann), an eccentric hypochondriac who seizes on any excuse to have his doting daughter, Cora (Tamela Mann), bring him in to see a physician. Family-friendly entertainment with a pointed message intended to remind us that What's Done in the Dark... will always come to light.

Good (2 stars)
Running time: 140 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: “Mr. Brown Goes Shopping” and “Mr. Brown Introduces the Cast” featurette.

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