Tyler Perry's Temptation hit theaters last weekend and opened to a friendly box office, with an impressive number of tickets sold. Though the title didn't open at number one, no doubt, Mr. Perry's still pleased with second place. TheWrap.com reports:
Perry's Temptation took in an impressive $22.3 million at the box office over the weekend, the writer-director's ninth film to open at more than $20 million, which puts him in some fast company. Stephen Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis are the only other directors to manage the feat, according to Box Office Mojo.
Temptation, formerly titled The Marriage Counselor, suffered initial controversy due to Kim Kardashian's involvement. An uproar ensued from Tyler Perry devotees after Kim's announced involvement in the film followed the announcement that she was filing for divorce from Kris Humphries after just 72 days of marriage. The hubbub sent Perry running to defend his decision to cast the reality star and led to a slight renaming of the film to Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. The film explores subject matter largely avoided by Perry's franchise, with the exception of The Family That Preys. Sex, adultery and the temptation of forbidden fruit are cast against the backdrop of a much more familiar spiritual context of Good versus Evil.
The official story synopsis reads: "an explosive romance about forbidden desires that tells the provocative story of Judith, an ambitious married woman whose temptation by a handsome billionaire leads to betrayal, recklessness and forever altars the course of her life."
The newly-married Jurnee Smollett-Bell, (her husband is musician Josiah Bell) plays a dissatisfied marriage counselor working in a millionaire match-making firm under the supervision of CEO Janice, played by Vanessa Williams. In our sit-down together, the actress revealed her thoughts on what it takes to keep her marriage healthy.
"It is a beautiful thing to work on your relationship," she told me. Referring to Ben Affleck's comments at the Academy Awards, she said, "I love that he said that in his Oscar speech because it's the truth. Marriage is a work in progress but it's beautiful. [You know] it's not like some Disney fairytale. I think we live in a society where we try to pretend like it is.No! Its two people saying, 'Look, we're going to do this.'
The story pits a young couple who've known one another their whole lives against the seemingly insurmountable lure of wealth and power in a plot point reminiscent of Indecent Proposal.
Perry aficionado's won't be disappointed, lest they miss Madea, who doesn't make an appearance this time around. Still, a shirtless Lance Gross, of Tyler Perry's House of Payne, who is cast as Smollett-Bell's husband, Brice, more then makes up for her absence. In fact, yours truly wondered why he was cast as the boring husband while newcomer Robbie Jones (admittedly less sexy) plays the billionaire who lures Smollett-Bell's character away from her mundane marriage. But I digress.
It's widely thought that Jurnee Smollett-Bell was robbed of an Oscar for her first appearance on screen in Eve's Bayou, and don't think I neglected to remind her of it, though that was before the camera's rolled. She largely carries the film, appearing in a majority of its scenes. She leads a cast that includes R&B singer Brandy Norwood (UPN's "Moesha"), Vanessa Williams (ABC's "Desperate Housewives") Ella Joyce (Fox's 90's sitcom "Roc") and Kim Kardashian (E!s popular reality show "The Khardashians"). The reality star, whom film makers are hoping will draw her millions of fans to the box office, shares most of her on-screen time with Jurnee Smollett Bell.
Take a look at my interviews with the lot above and go see the film.
WATCH: Interview with the cast of Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor
Follow Danai P. Maraire on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@attagirlent