Directed by David M. Matthews
“I’d rather another man stick his dick in my mouth than in my woman.”
I don’t know if the makers of N-Secure thought they were crafting an intense thriller about a man so consumed by jealousy he’s willing to go to murderous lengths to deal with the women in his life or a female empowerment melodrama about those women and the psychological toll of being involved with an insecure man dangerously consumed by paranoia and jealously, but I can say with absolute certainty the end result is a howlingly bad laugh riot I’ve dubbed “Tyler Perry’s The Room”.
That everything portrayed on screen takes itself intensely seriously tells me the creators of N-Secure did not intend to make a cheap, cheeseball, blacksploitation thriller with the mentality of the hooting and hollering audience of a “Maury Povich Show” baby daddy episode. I’m convinced the only thing standing in the way of N-Secure and cult movie certainty is it being about 20 minutes too long.
Hell, Kirk Cameron Christian polemics are more competent pieces of filmmaking than this: cobbled together like a series of disjointed vignettes with little sense of directional flow, buffering scenes with an over-reliance on fadeouts and static establishing shots, schizophrenic pacing, an intrusive score that sometimes drowns out dialogue. Yes, I enjoyed myself far more than I probably should have watching – make that gawking – at this seething cauldron of inept comic intensity.
This is the story of David Washington, a highly intelligent, incredibly wealthy, self-made Memphis businessman. He’s also a paranoid, misogynistic control freak on the verge of violence. If you break any of the ridiculous “10 Commandments” he expects any woman in a relationship with him to abide by, he won’t hesitate to dress you down like you’re teenager being grounded. If he suspects you’re cheating on him, he’ll bust out a UV light and inspect the house for semen stains not his. If he’s sure you’re cheating or just wants to get a troublemaker out of his life, throats are getting choked and brake lines are getting cut.
The opening shot is nothing more than David Washington shaving and brushing his teeth with this mean gleam in his eye as if he’s ready to punch a hole in somebody’s face. That Cordell Moore is a stage actor making his screen debut might explain why there’s something very theatrical about his overacting as if he’s performing for the people seated in the back of the theater.
David is engaged to Robin (the lovely Essence Atkins). How this older man hooked up with this younger, sexier woman is very easy to understand — he’s loaded. Why this younger, sexier woman is willing to put up with David’s rigid rules is also easy to understand — he’s loaded. She hates David’s demanding ways but is not accustomed to having to fend for herself and enjoys the lifestyle he affords her. She’s an insecure gold digger, and in this movie’s bizarro world mentality that actually makes her the sympathetic heroine.
The final straw comes when David gives her an ultimatum that they will be married by a specific date of his choosing and her pregnant with their firstborn shortly thereafter or he will not hesitate to toss her out on the street like a hood rat. This doesn’t actually prompt her to end the relationship right away. No, she’s still willing to marry this tyrant. After all, he is loaded. Instead Robin copes by having a little too much to drink the night before the wedding and gets caught seducing her best friend Jill’s fiancé on David’s living room floor.
Jill is played by Tempest Bledsoe of “The Cosby Show” fame. If you’ve ever wanted to hear Vanessa Huxtable call someone “motherfucker”, this is the movie for you.
Enter Tina (the statuesque in more ways than one Denise Boutte), the new-in-town sister of David’s browbeaten secretary, the woman he will hook up with immediately after breaking up with Robin, as in she rings the doorbell minutes after he’s thrown Robin out of his life and within moments they’re jetting off to the Virgin Islands. The script appeared to be in complete denial that Tina is nothing more than an outright gold digger and foolishly attempts to make her a sympathetic character as well. I assure you, this is the woman Kanye West and Jamie Fox were singing about in that song.
Tina will eventually try to escape David’s clutches only to end up back living the life of subservient wenchdom. Her reaction to being blackmailed into staying in a relationship with a mentally unstable man is to go see a therapist specializing in abusive relationships and rolling her eyes at every single thing the therapist tells her because she knows deep down that he’s a good man and wouldn’t be the way he is if that bitch Robin hadn’t broken his heart.
Robin finds out she’s pregnant with David’s child and is hellbent to prove it after David denies being the father. David bribes a nurse to switch the results of the paternity test, and Robin goes undercover as a cleaning lady to find anything in the trash with David’s DNA on it to perform a second secret paternity test. By the time the truth comes out, the movie has already fully spiraled into face palming delirium.
Time also spirals deliriously, jumping forward in an instant with only the faintest of clues that days, weeks, or months have passed. Robin learns she’s pregnant and twenty minutes of film time later she has a massive baby bump; another fifteen minutes of film time and she’s going into labor. It took an off-the-cuff comment during the film’s final scene to realize the events of the movie took place over the course of a year.
The script is loaded with inorganic dialogue written to provide information the screenwriter couldn’t figure out any other way to convey. For example, David goes out for drinks with an old Marine buddy and the two of them recount David’s entire life story up to that point in a very inorganic sounding conversation that sounds like the bullet points from a Lifetime Achievement Award presenter’s speech. Characters also frequently show up and immediately let it be known precisely why they are there and what they plan to do regardless of whether any of this info is pertinent to the plot.
Then there’s the dialogue that achieves a Tommy Wiseau level of are-you-kidding-me badness, the quote opening this review being the film’s “You’re tearing me apart” moment. David sternly lectures about punctuality; arriving a mere two minutes late is a major sign of disrespect and he knows the person’s excuse for being late is a lie because he has calculated the precise amount of time it would take to drive from there to here. When a jealous man’s accusatorial rant sounds more like a word problem from a second grade math class, how am I not supposed to laugh hysterically? Or when David has a jealous freak-out repeatedly demanding to know “Who are you sleeping with?” in a tone of voice that threatens to take on the ever increasing vehemence of a Dalek repetitiously screaming “Exterminate!”
Tina gets a phone call from her brother inviting her to drive home that weekend to celebrate his getting a big job promotion. When she relays this information to David, standing next to her the whole time, even after she has invited him to go with her on this trip to finally meet her family, he reacts by calling her a bad liar, letting her know that he knows that was her secret lover she’s planning a rendezvous with and then starts strangling her right there in a public place. Why would any woman stay with a man this cartoonishly deranged? Oh, right — he’s loaded.
I cannot stress enough how laughably detestable the three central characters are. David’s a madman. Robin’s a gold digger. Even when Robin’s living on her own raising a baby, there’s never any indication she actually has a job, unless spending all one’s time scheming to prove your rich baby daddy’s paternity in order to get big bucks out of him for child support can now be legally classified as an occupation. Tina couldn’t be any more of a gold digger if she wore a miner’s hat and swung a pick axe. I don’t want to spoil the ending, folks, but the final scene (not kidding) involves a congratulatory discussion of how the money from David’s estate and life insurance policy will be divided up, followed by the womenfolk celebrating to the closing tune of Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family”.
Tyler Perry’s The Room…
3 OUT OF 5 KNIVES FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS!!!
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