Review in a Hurry: Tyler Perry pretty much defines his own genre—call it the domestic-abuse Gospel dramedy—and plays to a cult of rabid fans. If you aren't one already, his latest probably won't win you over.

The Bigger Picture: In his second feature film as director, and third as screenwriter, Tyler Perry mercifully removes himself from the cast, so there's no hideous mugging here from Madea or Uncle Joe. Instead, it's a much more basic love story between Atlanta inner-city mechanic Monty (The Gospel's Idris Elba) and Julia (Gabrielle Union), the hard-headed-but-soft-centered attorney helping him regain custody of his three daughters from their corrupt mother (Tasha Smith) and her drug-dealing boyfriend (Gary Anthony Sturgis).

Beware the ads that make this movie look like a kid-friendly comedy—the little girls themselves get little screen time, and at least half of it involves them being beaten or yelled at. But if you love really maudlin gospel and blues—the kind where it sounds like the singer is crying nonstop—Perry never disappoints on that score.

Elba has an impressive screen presence that will likely lead to bigger and better things, and his interplay with Union keeps things mostly watchable; this is easily Perry's best film, which is to say it's serviceably mediocre rather than godawful.

It'll be interesting to see what his Christian fans make of the awkward climax, which quite literally advocates bearing false witness against one's neighbor.

The 180—a Second Opinion: If you're interested in seeing it still, here's a thought: If this movie makes more money than the ones with Madea in them, maybe Perry will finally take the hint and put away the fat suit and floral dress for good.

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