Daddy's Little Girls is almost a real movie. It's still got that distinct Tyler Perry style of sharp tonal shifts, soap opera handling of delicate issues and pandering comedy, but it comes close to holding together as a character drama.
Review: Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls
Working man Monty (Idris Elba) loses his three daughters to their crack whore mother (Tasha Smith). I'm not making stereotypes. She really is a crack whore. He loses his job as chauffer to high powered attorney Julia Rossmore (Gabrielle Union) because he takes a detour to tend to his kids, but he seeks her help winning them back from their mom. Unlikely sparks fly.
He may have ditched the Madea character, but Daddy's Little Girls is still Tyler Perry all the way. From sassy kids to drug dealing violence, from romantic connections to flashbacks of rape, from legal proceedings to random religious sermons, there's nothing consistent about it.
For someone so popular with the African-American community, it's amazing how many stereotypes Perry employs. Perhaps he uses the deadbeat dad stuff to prove that Monty is not the stereotype, but why do we need the ghetto fabulous rapper or the bling-bling drug dealers? Perhaps the latter is a formidable bad guy, but the former is just a random joke that goes on way too long.
Lots of scenes go on way too long, like Julia explaining to her friends via cell phone why she has such high standards. We get it. She's successful, her dates are not, it doesn't work. We've seen it. Stop talking about it.
There actually is a heartwarming story of a father fighting for his children buried within this mess. When the film is on message, it works. Elba portrays an absolutely believable and noble caring father. Even when he's fighting the stereotypical gold digging criminal wife and stepfather, his sincerity pulls it off.
It is an important story. Having no means to fight people who can use the courts to harm your kids surely happens a lot. They can even throw in the romance between the dad and his lawyer, and their social problems, but we don't need the pedestrian blind date jokes or the usual high strung ice princess routine.
But Tyler Perry has proven twice that people like this aesthetic, so God bless him for satisfying his crowd. It's only my job to tell you nothing's changed, so do with this film as you see fit.