There are several tropes that make up the proven Tyler Perry formula. One of the most common being the successful business woman who fails to realize that the love she is searching for has been staring her in the face all along. Of course, it is her own unrealistic standards and ideals, which look down on anyone who is considered working-class or has a criminal past, that is hindering her progress romantically.
It is the criminal past that serves as a major stumbling block for hypocritical Danica (Tika Sumpter) in Nobody’s Fool. Working at an advertising agency, Danica has been dating Charlie online for over a year. Though the pair have never met, she does not even know what he looks like, Charlie checks off many of the boxes on the list of qualities Danica seeks in a partner. Believing that Charlie is the one, Danica routinely ignores the romantic gestures of Frank (Omari Hardwick), a local coffee shop owner who is clearly smitten with her.
Danica’s romantic life gets turned upside down when her perpetually meddling sister Tanya (Tiffany Haddish), who was recently released from prison, moves in with her. It is through Tanya’s parole requirements, which includes regularly attending AA meetings, that Danica discovers Frank is a former addict who spent seven years in prison. Struggling to deal with both Tanya and the various men in her life, while desperately hoping to find that same idealistic romance her mother Lola (Whoopi Goldberg) had, Danica must learn the hard way that love is more fluid than her list driven life could predict.
Those familiar with Tyler Perry films will know what to expect from a plot standpoint. The characters all follow his traditional archetypes. Danica is the woman chasing a false notion of love and is too stuck in her own head to truly confront her previous heartbreak. Frank is the good-looking guy with a heart of gold who is unfairly punished for a past that he has clearly evolved from. Tanya is the outlandish Madea style character, etc. As a result, the things that keep Danica and Frank apart are not nearly as compelling as they could be.
While the romantic beats are predictable, the saving grace of Nobody’s Fool is the comedic turns by Haddish and Goldberg. Though the latter only gets a few scenes to shine, Haddish proves a worthy heir to the Madea throne. Playing the rough around the edges Tanya, Haddish provides plenty of laughs without the obvious sermonizing that Perry’s brash characters often fall victim to. Though not all the gags work, the Chris Rock cameo falls flat, Haddish keeps the film moving at a descent pace.
The Blu-ray, which arrived this week courtesy of Paramount Home Media Entertainment, features several special features that further emphasize Tiffany Haddish’s importance to the film. In “Tale of Two Sisters” and “Mocha Latte Extra Laughs” Tika Sumpter and Omari Hardwick each share their praise for Haddish’s work while discussion their character’s motivations. The most touching featurette though is “The Legend and the Star” in which the cast discusses what it was like to work with Whoopi Goldberg. Haddish becomes especially emotional talking about the genuine mother-daughter bond she and Goldberg developed while on set.
Nobody’s Fool does not veer from the Perry formula, but Haddish and Goldberg show that the right cast can elevate even the most predictable material.
Bonus Features: Introduction by Tyler Perry & Tiffany Haddish, Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes, Gag Reel, Tale of Two Sisters, The Legend and the Star, Mocha Latte Extra Laughs, I’m Just Trusting Tyler Perry, She Ready or Not: Here Comes the Wedding Crasher, Bring the Funny, Breakfast with Tiffany, Something New from Tyler Perry” Perfume, “Catfished” Perfume with Outtakes