MEA CULPA REVIEW: Tyler Perry’s 1980s-Style Erotic Thriller Gives His Fans Feelings of Guilt

Mea Culpa

Tyler Perry has been able to exercise his narrative muscles in his Netflix contract by fusing his signature melodrama and humor with different genres. Perry’s standard formula was applied to a 1930s time setting in “A Jazzman’s Blues.” Prior to that, he experimented with a legal thriller in “A Fall from Grace,” his debut film for the streamer.

With “Mea Culpa,” the prolific writer-director takes that genre to new heights, creating an erotic thriller with a decidedly Tyler Perry flair that is reminiscent of the wacky 1980s. The storyline is akin to “Jagged Edge,” with a lawyer falling in love with her client, a guy who is charged with killing his partner. It also alludes to “Fatal Attraction,” another well-known ’80s classic, with a love nest that can only be accessed via freight elevator.

In this scene, artist Zyair Malloy (Trevante Rhodes) is the client of Mea Harper (Kelly Rowland), a lawyer who may or may not be guilty of killing his fiancée. He’s conceited, gifted, and attractive; she’s married. The direction of this is apparent to the audience.


Mia culpa initially appears with her spouse (Sean Sagar) during marital therapy. Because she caught him shaking hands with another lady, she has a private detective (Ron Reaco Lee) on his trail and things aren’t going well at home.
But that’s not all. Because this is a Perry production, complex familial ties are also there. Kerry O’Malley, Mea’s mother-in-law, is a controlling cancer sufferer who has little affection for the lady her son selected.

Nick Sagar, her brother-in-law, is the district attorney bringing charges against her client. In a sequence where the husband’s transgressions are disclosed, the audience is given a signal that this is going to be more than just a simple sensual thriller.
Following an argument, both couples begin to level allegations at one another. All of a sudden, he’s not just a mama’s son with a wandering eye—he has no job. Even worse, he lost his job as an anesthesiologist due to his intoxication and elevated state of mind at work; in Mea Culpa words, he “became addicted to his own shit.”

Rowland tries to deliver that statement with all the sincerity she can muster, but the moment shifts from serious to comical in an instant. There is a hint that there will be much more absurdity in the future. Perry keeps his word.

Mea Culpa’
Mea Culpa and Zyair have a seductive game of cat and mouse to play before things get absurdly fun. Unfortunately, there is no chemistry between Rhodes and Rowland. They appear the part, with lighting that highlights their good looks, yet something is wrong.

The monotony of the sequences in which they threaten to break up doesn’t help, nor does the corny language. The numerous phone calls Mea Culpa makes to her private investigator also serve only to sabotage their developing romantic relationship.
Perry uses Amanda Jones’ score in an attempt to stir up the action. But regardless of how loud or faint the music gets, trying to use it to generate erotic tension that doesn’t present is a bad idea. Simply put, the actors lack rhythm. The scenes’ rhythm is disrupted by their seeming waiting for each other to finish words. Don’t worry—there’s still the absurd conclusion to anticipate.

Though it’s so incredibly cheesy and artificial that it’s impossible to take what transpires as anything close to reality, fans of Perry’s work should find it entertaining. Everything falls apart as betrayals and grudges are exposed, things get physical, and a knife or two are pulled. Perry is an expert in his field. He is incapable of believing any of this for even a moment.

You won’t like “Tyler Perry’s Mea Culpa” for everyone. Even though a lot of people may dismiss it as trash, there is something remarkable in a director who understands exactly what his audience wants. It will provide enough entertainment for his devoted fan base on a quiet evening at home.  FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK…

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