Janet Jackson Roars Back To The Top


Most of the stories about how “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” won the weekend’s box office focused on Tyler Perry: his supposed outsider status in Hollywood, his understanding of the taste of churchgoing black people; and his willingness to exploit African-American stereotypes for comedic effect — especially the most tired cliche of all: the fat girl triumphing over the skinny woman to get the hot guy. For me, however, the true glory of the new Perry movie’s success is that it restores Janet Jackson to the top of the cinematic heap. I haven’t felt this giddy about the Rhythm Nationette since the release of “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps,” in 2000. The modern-day professor series, of course, was a showcase for Eddie Murphy; but the sequel featured Miss Janet as a brilliant scientist, an assignment that occasioned the following lol of a half-paragraph from Elvis Mitchell, who was then a critic for the New York Times. “In the first ‘Professor,”’ wrote Mitchell, “Jada Pinkett got [Murphy’s] pheromones going. This time it’s Janet Jackson, and the biggest special effect in the movie is her playing a genetics scientist. The names of the chemical compounds don’t come trippingly off her tongue; it’s as if they trip off her tongue.” Jackson survived that zinger to — for now — have the last laugh.

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